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Full text of "The trumpet-major, John Loveday, a soldier in the war with Buonaparte, and Robert his brother, first mate in the merchant service; a tale. With an etching by H. MacBeth-Raeburn and a map of Wessex"

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Drawn on the spot 

" Loveday then passed on to the 
harbour, where he remained 
awhile, looking at the busy 
scene of loading and unloading 
cratt . . . and at the houses 
of the merchants." Page 302. 
















Albemarle Street 





1 HE present tale is founded more largely on testimony 
oral and written than any other in this series. The exter- 
nal incidents which direct its course are mostly an unex- 
aggerated reproduction of the recollections of old persons 
well known to the author in childhood, but now long dead, 
who were eye-witnesses of those scenes. If wholly tran- 
scribed their recollections would have filled a volume thrice 
the length of 'The Trumpet- Major.' 

Down to the middle of this century, and later, there were 
not wanting, in the neighbourhood of the places more or 
less clearly indicated herein, casual relics of the circum- 
stances amid which the action moves our preparations for 
defence against the threatened invasion of England by 
Buonaparte. An outhouse door riddled with bullet-holes, 
which had been extemporized by a solitary man as a target 
for firelock practice when the landing was hourly expected, 
a heap of bricks and clods on a beacon-hill, which had 
formed the chimney and walls of the hut occupied by the 
beacon-keeper, worm-eaten shafts and iron heads of pikes 
for the use of those who had no better weapons, ridges on 
the down thrown up during the encampment, fragments of 
volunteer uniform, and other such lingering remains, brought 
to my imagination in early childhood the state of affairs at 


the date of the war more vividly than volumes of history 
could have done. 

Those who have attempted to construct a coherent 
narrative of past times from the fragmentary information 
furnished by survivors, are aware of the difficulty of ascer- 
taining the true sequence of events indiscriminately re- 
called. For this purpose the newspapers of the date were 
indispensable. Of other documents consulted I may men- 
tion, for the satisfaction of those who love a true story, that 
the ' Address to all Ranks and Descriptions of Englishmen ' 
was transcribed from an original copy in a local museum ; 
that the hieroglyphic portrait of Napoleon existed as a 
print down to the present day in an old woman's cottage 
near ' Overcombe ; ' that the particulars of the King's 
doings at his favourite watering-place were augmented by 
details from records of the time. The drilling scene of the 
local militia received some additions from an account given 
in so grave a work as Gifford's ' History of the Wars of the 
French Revolution' (London, 1817). But on reference to 
the History I find I was mistaken in supposing the account 
to be advanced as authentic, or to refer to rural England. 
However, it does in a large degree accord with the local 
traditions of such scenes that I have heard recounted, times 
without number, and the system of drill was tested by re- 
ference to the Army Regulations of 1801, and other military 
handbooks. Almost the whole narrative of the supposed 
landing of the French in the Bay is from oral relation as 
aforesaid. Other proofs of the veracity of this chronicle 
have escaped my recollection. 

T. H. 

October 1895. 




ING THE DOWN . .... i 



OPERATIONS ..... 20 







MAJOR .... 7 


GAUDEN .... '85 





OF ROYALTY . . . . -93 






SERVICE ...... 125 


STRANGER . . . . .138 



SURPRISE ...... 163 


CALAMITY . . . 174 




SCALE ...... 202 


XXVI. THE ALARM ... .227 





XXIX. A DISSEMBLER . . . . .265 



XXXII. DELIVERANCE . . . . .289 












IN the days of high-waisted and muslin-gowned women, 
when the vast amount of soldiering going on in the 
country was a cause of much trembling to the sex, there 
lived in a village near the Wessex coast two ladies of 
good report, though unfortunately of limited means. 
The elder was a Mrs. Martha Garland, a landscape- 
painter's widow, and the other was her only daughter 

Anne was fair, very fair, in a poetical sense; but in 
complexion she was of that particular tint between 
blonde and brunette which is inconveniently left with- 
out a name. Her eyes were honest and inquiring, her 
mouth cleanly cut and yet not classical, the middle 
point of her upper lip scarcely descending so far as it 
should have done by rights, so that at the merest 
pleasant thought, not to mention a smile, portions of 
two or three white teeth were uncovered whether she 
would or not. Some people said that this was very 
attractive. She was graceful and slender, and, though 
but little above five feet in height, could draw herself up 
to look tall. In her manner, in her comings and goings, 
in her ' I'll do this,' or ' I'll do that,' she combined 

I A 


dignity with sweetness as no other girl could do ; and 
any impressionable stranger youths who passed by were 
led to yearn for a windfall of speech from her, and to 
see at the same time that they would not get it. In 
short, beneath all that was charming and simple in this 
young woman there lurked a real firmness, unperceived 
at first, as the speck of colour lurks unperceived in the 
heart of the palest parsley flower. 

She wore a white handkerchief to cover her white 
neck, and a cap on her head with a pink ribbon round 
it, tied in a bow at the front. She had a great variety 
of these cap-ribbons, the young men being fond of 
sending them to her as presents until they fell definitely 
in love with a special sweetheart elsewhere, when they 
left off doing so. Between the border of her cap and 
her forehead were ranged a row of round brown curls, 
like swallows' nests under eaves. 

She lived with her widowed mother in a portion of 
an ancient building formerly a manor-house, but now a 
mill, which, being too large for his own requirements, 
the miller had found it convenient to divide and appro- 
priate in part to these highly respectable tenants. In 
this dwelling Mrs. Garland's and Anne's ears were 
soothed morning, noon, and night by the music of the 
mill, the wheels and cogs of which, being of wood, pro- 
duced notes that might have borne in their minds a 
remote resemblance to the wooden tones of the stopped 
diapason in an organ. Occasionally, when the miller 
was bolting, there was added to these continuous sounds 
the cheerful clicking of the hopper, which did not de- 
prive them of rest except when it was kept going all 
night ; and over and above all this they had the pleasure 
of knowing that there crept in through every crevice, 
door, and window of their dwelling, however tightly 
closed, a subtle mist of superfine flour from the grinding- 
room, quite invisible, but making its presence known in 
the course of time by giving a pallid and ghostly look 



to the best furniture. The miller frequently apologized 
to his tenants for the intrusion of this insidious dry fog ; 
but the widow was of a friendly and thankful nature, and 
she said that she did not mind it at all, being as it was, 
not nasty dirt, but the blessed staff of life. 

By good-humour of this sort, and in other ways, 
Mrs. Garland acknowledged her friendship for her neigh- 
bour, with whom Anne and herself associated to an 
extent which she never could have anticipated when, 
tempted by the lowness of the rent, they first removed 
thither after her husband's death from a larger house at 
the other end of the village. Those who have lived in 
remote places where there is what is called no society 
will comprehend the gradual levelling of distinctions 
that went on in this case at some sacrifice of gentility 
on the part of one household. The widow was some- 
times sorry to find with what readiness Anne caught 
up some dialect-word or accent from the miller and his 
friends; but he was so good and true-hearted a man, 
and she so easy-minded, unambitious a woman, that she 
would not make life a solitude for fastidious reasons. 
More than all, she had good ground for thinking 
that the miller secretly admired her, and this added a 
piquancy to the situation. 

On a fine summer morning, when the leaves were warm 
under the sun, and the more industrious bees abroad, 
diving into every blue and red cup that could possibly 
be considered a flower, Anne was sitting at the back 
window of her mother's portion of the house, measuring 
out lengths of worsted for a fringed rug that she was 
making, which lay, about three-quarters finished, beside 
her. The work, though chromatically brilliant, was 
tedious : a hearth-rug was a thing which nobody worked 
at from morning to night; it was taken up and put 
down ; it was in the chair, on the floor, across the 
hand-rail, under the bed, kicked here, kicked there, 



rolled away in the closet, brought out again, and so on, 
more capriciously perhaps than any other home-made 
article. Nobody was expected to finish a rug within 
a calculable period, and the wools of the beginning 
became faded and historical before the end was reached. 
A sense of this inherent nature of worsted- work rather 
than idleness led Anne to look rather frequently from 
the open casement. 

Immediately before her was the large, smooth mill- 
pond, over-full, and intruding into the hedge and into the 
road. The water, with its flowing leaves and spots of 
froth, was stealing away, like Time, under the dark arch, 
to tumble over the great slimy wheel within. On the 
other side of the mill-pond was an open place called the 
Cross, because it was three-quarters of one, two lanes 
and a cattle-drive meeting there. It was the general 
rendezvous and arena of the surrounding village. Behind 
this a steep slope rose high into the sky, merging in a 
wide and open down, now littered with sheep newly 
shorn. The upland by its height completely sheltered 
the mill and village from north winds, making summers 
of springs, reducing winters to autumn temperatures, 
and permitting myrtle to flourish in the open air. 

The heaviness of noon pervaded the scene, and under 
its influence the sheep had ceased to feed. Nobody 
was standing at the Cross, the few inhabitants being 
indoors at their dinner. No human being was on the 
down, and no human eye or interest but Anne's seemed 
to be concerned with it. The bees still worked on, and 
the butterflies did not rest from roving, their smallness 
seeming to shield them from the stagnating effect that 
this turning moment of day had on larger creatures. 
Otherwise all was still. 

The girl glanced at the down and the sheep for no 
particular reason; the steep margin of turf and daisies 
rising above the roofs, chimneys, apple-trees, and church 
tower of the hamlet around her, bounded the view from 



her position, and it was necessary to look somewhere 
when she raised her head. While thus engaged in 
working and stopping her attention was attracted by 
the sudden rising and running away of the sheep 
squatted on the down; and there succeeded sounds 
of a heavy tramping over the hard sod which the sheep 
had quitted, the tramp being accompanied by a metallic 
jingle. Turning her eyes further she beheld two cavalry 
soldiers on bulky grey chargers, armed and accoutred 
throughout, ascending the down at a point to the left 
where the incline was comparatively easy. The bur- 
nished chains, buckles, and plates of their trappings 
shone like little looking-glasses, and the blue, red, and 
white about them was unsubdued by weather or wear. 

The two troopers rode proudly on, as if nothing less 
than crowns and empires ever concerned their magni- 
ficent minds. They reached that part of the down 
which lay just in front of her, where they came to 
a halt. In another minute there appeared behind 
them a group containing some half-dozen more of the 
same sort. These came on, halted, and dismounted 

Two of the soldiers then walked some distance on- 
ward together, when one stood still, the other advancing 
further, and stretching a white line of tape between 
them. Two more of the men marched to another out- 
lying point, where they made marks in the ground. 
Thus they walked about and took distances, obviously 
according to some preconcerted scheme. 

At the end of this systematic proceeding one solitary 
horseman a commissioned officer, if his uniform could 
be judged rightly at that distance rode up the down, 
went over the ground, looked at what the others had 
done, and seemed to think that it was good. And then 
the girl heard yet louder tramps and clankings, and she 
beheld rising from where the others had risen a whole 
column of cavalry in marching order. At a distance 



behind these came a cloud of dust enveloping" more and 
more troops, their arms and accoutrements reflecting the 
sun through the haze in faint flashes, stars, and streaks 
of light. The whole body approached slowly towards 
the plateau at the top of the down. 

Anne threw down her work, and letting her eyes 
remain on the nearing masses of cavalry, the worsteds 
getting entangled as they would, said, ' Mother, mother ; 
come here ! Here's such a fine sight ! What does it 
mean ? What can they be going to do up there ? ' 

The mother thus invoked ran upstairs and came 
forward to the window. She was a woman of sanguine 
mouth and eye, unheroic manner, and pleasant general 
appearance; a little more tarnished as to surface, but 
not much worse in contour than the girl herself. 

Widow Garland's thoughts were those of the period. 
' Can it be the French ? ' she said, arranging herself for 
the extremest form of consternation. ' Can that arch- 
enemy of mankind have landed at last ? ' It should be 
stated that at this time there were two arch-enemies of 
mankind Satan as usual, and Buonaparte, who had 
sprung up and eclipsed his elder rival altogether. Mrs. 
Garland alluded, of course, to the junior gentleman. 

c It cannot be he,' said Anne. ' Ah ! there's Simon 
Burden, the man who watches at the beacon. He'll 
know ! ' 

She waved her hand to an aged form of the same 
colour as the road, who had just appeared beyond the 
mill-pond, and who, though active, was bowed to that 
degree which almost reproaches a feeling observer for 
standing upright. The arrival of the soldiery had 
drawn him out from his drop of drink at the ' Duke of 
York ' as it had attracted Anne. At her call he crossed 
the mill-bridge, and came towards the window. 

Anne inquired of him what it all meant ; but Simon 
Burden, without answering, continued to move on with 
parted gums, staring at the cavalry on his own private 



account with a concern that people often show about 
temporal phenomena when such matters can affect them 
but a short time longer. 'You'll walk into the mill- 
pond ! ' said Anne. ' What are they doing ? You were 
a soldier many years ago, and ought to know.' 

' Don't ask me, Mis'ess Anne,' said the military 
relic, depositing his body against the wall one limb 
at a time. ' I were only in the foot, ye know, and 
never had a clear understanding of horses. Ay, I be a 
old man, and of no judgment now.' Some additional 
pressure, however, caused him to search further in his 
worm-eaten magazine of ideas, and he found that he did 
know in a dim irresponsible way. The soldiers must 
have come there to camp : those men they had seen 
first were the markers : they had come on before the 
rest to measure out the ground. He who had accom- 
panied them was the quartermaster. ' And so you see 
they have got all the lines marked out by the time the 
regiment have come up,' he added. 'And then they 
will well-a-deary ! who'd ha' supposed that Overcombe 
would see such a day as this ! ' 

' And then they will ' 

' Then Ah, it's gone from me again ! ' said 
Simon. ' O, and then they will raise their tents, you 
know, and picket their horses. That was it; so it 

By this time the column of horse had ascended into 
full view, and they formed a lively spectacle as they rode 
along the high ground in marching order, backed by the 
pale blue sky, and lit by the southerly sun. Their uni- 
form was bright and attractive; white buckskin panta- 
loons, three-quarter boots, scarlet shakos set off with 
lace, mustachios waxed to a needle point ; and above 
all, those richly ornamented blue jackets mantled with 
the historic pelisse that fascination to women, and 
encumbrance to the wearers themselves. 

' 'Tis the York Hussars ! ' said Simon Burden, 


brightening like a dying ember fanned. ' Foreigners 
to a man, and enrolled long since my time. But as 
good hearty comrades, they say, as you'll find in the 
King's service.' 

' Here are more and different ones,' said Mrs. 

Other troops had, during the last few minutes, been 
ascending the down at a remoter point, and now drew 
near. These were of different weight and build from 
the others ; lighter men, in helmet hats, with white 

' I don't know which I like best,' said Anne. ' These, 
I think, after all.' 

Simon, who had been looking hard at the latter, now 
said that they were the th Dragoons. 

' All Englishmen they,' said the old man. ' They lay 
at Budmouth barracks a few years ago.' 

' They did. I remember it,' said Mrs. Garland. 

' And lots of the chaps about here 'listed at the time,' 
said Simon. ' I can call to mind that there was ah, 
'tis gone from me again ! However, all that's of little 
account now.' 

The dragoons passed in front of the lookers-on as 
the others had done, and their gay plumes, which had 
hung lazily during the ascent, swung to northward as 
they reached the top, showing that on the summit a 
fresh breeze blew. ' But look across there,' said Anne. 
There had entered upon the down from another direc- 
tion several battalions of foot, in white kerseymere 
breeches and cloth gaiters. They seemed to be weary 
from a long march, the original black of their gaiters 
and boots being whity-brown with dust. Presently came 
regimental waggons, and the private canteen carts which 
followed at the end of a convoy. 

The space in front of the mill-pond was now occupied 
by nearly all the inhabitants of the village, who had 
turned out in alarm, and remained for pleasure, their 



eyes lighted up with interest in what they saw ; for trap- 
pings and regimentals, war horses and men, in towns an 
attraction, were here almost a sublimity. 

The troops filed to their lines, dismounted, and in 
quick time took off their accoutrements, rolled up their 
sheep-skins, picketed and unbitted their horses, and 
made ready to erect the tents as soon as they could be 
taken from the waggons and brought forward. When 
this was done, at a given signal the canvases flew up 
from the sod ; and thenceforth every man had a place 
in which to lay his head. 

Though nobody seemed to be looking on but the few 
at the window and in the village street, there were, as a 
matter of fact, many eyes converging upon that military 
arrival in its high and conspicuous position, not to men- 
tion the glances of birds and other wild creatures. Men 
in distant gardens, women in orchards and at cottage- 
doors, shepherds on remote hills, turnip-hoers in blue- 
green enclosures miles away, captains with spy-glasses 
out at sea, were regarding the picture keenly. Those 
three or four thousand men of one machine-like move- 
ment, some of them swashbucklers by nature; others, 
doubtless, of a quiet shop-keeping disposition who had 
inadvertently got into uniform all of them had arrived 
from nobody knew where, and hence were matter of 
great curiosity. They seemed to the mere eye to belong 
to a different order of beings from those who inhabited 
the valleys below. Apparently unconscious and careless 
of what all the world was doing elsewhere, they remained 
picturesquely engrossed in the business of making them- 
selves a habitation on the isolated spot which they had 

Mrs. Garland was of a festive and sanguine turn of 
mind, a woman soon set up and soon set down, and the 
coming of the regiments quite excited her. She thought 
there was reason for putting on her best cap, thought 
that perhaps there was not ; that she would hurry on the 



dinner and go out in the afternoon ; then that she would, 
after all, do nothing unusual, nor show any silly excite- 
ments whatever, since they were unbecoming in a mother 
and a widow. Thus circumscribing her intentions till she 
was toned down to an ordinary person of forty, Mrs. 
Garland accompanied her daughter downstairs to dine, 
saying, ' Presently we will call on Miller Loveday, and 
hear what he thinks of it all.' 





MlLLER LOVED AY was the representative of an 
ancient family of corn-grinders whose history is ' lost in 
the mists of antiquity. His ancestral line was contem- 
poraneous with that of De Ros, Howard, and De La 
Zouche; but, owing to some trifling deficiency in the 
possessions of the house of Loveday, the individual names 
and intermarriages of its members were not recorded 
during the Middle Ages, and thus their private lives in 
any given century were uncertain. But it was known 
that the family had formed matrimonial alliances with 
farmers not so very small, and once with a gentleman- 
tanner, who had for many years purchased after their death 
the horses of the most aristocratic persons in the county 
fiery steeds that earlier in their career had been valued 
at many hundred guineas. 

It was also ascertained that Mr. Loveday's great- 
grandparents had been eight in number, and his great- 
great-grandparents sixteen, every one of whom reached 
to years of discretion : at every stage backwards his sires 
and gammers thus doubled and doubled till they became 
a vast body of Gothic ladies and gentlemen of the rank 
known as ceorls or villeins, full of importance to the 



country at large, and ramifying throughout the unwritten 
history of England. His immediate father had greatly 
improved the value of their residence by building a 
new chimney, and setting up an additional pair of mill- 

Overcombe Mill presented at one end the appear- 
ance of a hard- worked house slipping into the river, and 
at the other of an idle, genteel place, half-cloaked with 
creepers at this time of the year, and having no visible 
connexion with flour. It had hips instead of gables, 
giving it a round-shouldered look, four chimneys with 
no smoke coming out of them, two zigzag cracks in the 
wall, several open windows, with a looking-glass here 
and there inside, showing its warped back to the passer- 
by; snowy dimity curtains waving in the draught; two 
mill doors, one above the other, the upper enabling a 
person to step out upon nothing at a height of ten 
feet from the ground ; a gaping arch vomiting the river, 
and a lean, long-nosed fellow looking out from the 
mill doorway, who was the hired grinder, except when 
a bulging fifteen stone man occupied the same place, 
namely, the miller himself. 

Behind the mill door, and invisible to the mere way- 
farer who did not visit the family, were chalked addition 
and subtraction sums, many of them originally done 
wrong, and the figures half rubbed out and corrected, 
noughts being turned into nines, and ones into twos. 
These were the miller's private calculations. There 
were also chalked in the same place rows and rows of 
strokes like open palings, representing the calculations 
of the grinder, who in his youthful ciphering studies 
had not gone so far as Arabic figures. 

In the court in front were two worn-out millstones, 
made useful again by being let in level with the ground. 
Here people stood to smoke and consider things in 
muddy weather; and cats slept on the clean surfaces 
when it was hot. In the large stubbard-tree at the 



corner of the garden was erected a pole of larch fir, 
which the miller had bought with others at a sale of 
small timber in Darner's Wood one Christmas week. 
It rose from the upper boughs of the tree to about the 
height of a fisherman's mast, and on the top was a vane 
in the form of a sailor with his arm stretched out. 
When the sun shone upon this figure it could be seen 
that the greater part of his countenance was gone, and 
the paint washed from his body so far as to reveal 
that he had been a soldier in red before he became a 
sailor in blue. The image had, in fact, been John, one 
of our coming characters, and was then turned into 
Robert, another of them. This revolving piece of 
statuary could not, however, be relied on as a vane, 
owing to the neighbouring hill, which formed variable 
currents in the wind. 

The leafy and quieter wing of the mill-house was the 
part occupied by Mrs. Garland and her daughter, who 
made up in summer-time for the narrowness of their 
quarters by overflowing into the garden on stools and 
chairs. The parlour or dining-room had a stone floor 
a fact which the widow sought to disguise by double 
carpeting, lest the standing of Anne and herself should 
be lowered in the public eye. Here now the mid-day 
meal went lightly and mincingly on, as it does where 
there is no greedy carnivorous man to keep the dishes 
about, and was hanging on the close when somebody 
entered the passage as far as the chink of the parlour 
door, and tapped. This proceeding was probably 
adopted to kindly avoid giving trouble to Susan, the 
neighbour's pink daughter, who helped at Mrs. Gar- 
land's in the mornings, but was at that moment particu- 
larly occupied in standing on the water-butt and gazing 
at the soldiers, with an inhaling position of the mouth 
and circular eyes. 

There was a flutter in the little dining-room the 
sensitiveness of habitual solitude makes hearts beat for 


preternaturally small reasons and a guessing as to who 
the visitor might be. It was some military gentleman 
from the camp perhaps? No; that was impossible. 
It was the parson ? No ; he would not come at 
dinner-time. It was the well-informed man who 
travelled with drapery and the best Birmingham ear- 
rings ? Not at all ; his time was not till Thursday at 
three. Before they could think further the visitor 
moved forward another step, and the diners got a 
glimpse of him through the same friendly chink that 
had afforded him a view of the Garland dinner-table. 

' O ! it is only Loveday.' 

This approximation to nobody was the miller above 
mentioned, a hale man of fifty-five or sixty hale all 
through, as many were in those days, and not merely 
veneered with purple by exhilarating victuals and drinks, 
though the latter were not at all despised by him. His 
face was indeed rather pale than otherwise, for he had 
just come from the mill. It was capable of immense 
changes of expression : mobility was its essence, a roll 
of flesh forming a buttress to his nose on each side, 
and a deep ravine lying between his lower lip and the 
tumulus represented by his chin. These fleshy lumps 
moved stealthily, as if of their own accord, whenever 
his fancy was tickled. 

His eyes having lighted on the table-cloth, plates, 
and viands, he found himself in a position which had 
a sensible awkwardness for a modest man who always 
liked to enter only at seasonable times the presence of 
a girl of such pleasantly soft ways as Anne Garland, 
she who could make apples seem like peaches, and 
throw over her shillings the glamour of guineas when 
she paid him for flour. 

' Dinner is over, neighbour Loveday ; please come 
in,' said the widow, seeing his case. The miller said 
something about coming in presently ; but Anne pressed 
him to stay, with a tender motion of her lip as it played 



on the verge of a solicitous smile without quite lapsing 
into one her habitual manner when speaking. 

Loveday took off his low-crowned hat and advanced. 
He had not come about pigs or fowls this time. ' You 
have been looking out, like the rest o' us, no doubt, 
Mrs. Garland, at the mampus of soldiers that have 
come upon the down? Well, one of the horse regi- 
ments is the th Dragoons, my son John's regiment, 

you know.' 

The announcement, though it interested them, did 
not create such an effect as the father of John had 
seemed to anticipate ; but Anne, who liked to say 
pleasant things, replied, ' The dragoons looked nicer 
than the foot, or the German cavalry either.' 

' They are a handsome body of men,' said the miller 
in a disinterested voice. ' Faith ! I didn't know they 
were coming, though it may be in the newspaper all the 
time. But old Derriman keeps it so long that we never 
know things till they be in everybody's mouth.' 

This Derriman was a squireen living near, who was 
chiefly distinguished in the present warlike time by 
having a nephew in the yeomanry. 

'We were told that the yeomanry went along the 
turnpike road yesterday,' said Anne; 'and they say 
that they were a pretty sight, and quite soldierly.' 

' Ah ! well they be not regulars,' said Miller Love- 
day, keeping back harsher criticism as uncalled for. 
But inflamed by the arrival of the dragoons, which had 
been the exciting cause of his call, his mind would not 
go to yeomanry. ' John has not been home these five 
years,' he said. 

' And what rank does he hold now ? ' said the widow. 

' He's trumpet-major, ma'am ; and a good musician.' 
The miller, who was a good father, went on to explain 
that John had seen some service, too. He had enlisted 
when the regiment was lying in this neighbourhood, 
more than eleven years before, which put his father out 



of temper with him, as he had wished him to follow on 
at the mill. But as the lad had enlisted seriously, and 
as he had often said that he would be a soldier, the 
miller had thought that he would let Jack take his 
chance in the profession of his choice. 

Loveday had two sons, and the second was now 
brought into the conversation by a remark of Anne's 
that neither of them seemed to care for the miller's 

' No,' said Loveday in a less buoyant tone. ' Robert, 
you see, must needs go to sea.' 

' He is much younger than his brother ? ' said Mrs. 

About four years, the miller told her. His soldier 
son was two-and-thirty, and Bob was twenty-eight. 
When Bob returned from his present voyage, he was to 
be persuaded to stay and assist as grinder in the mill, 
and go to sea no more. 

' A sailor-miller ! ' said Anne. 

' O, he knows as much about mill business as I do,' 
said Loveday ; ' he was intended for it, you know, like 
John. But, bless me ! ' he continued, ' I am before my 
story. I'm come more particularly to ask you, ma'am, 
and you, Anne my honey, if you will join me and a few 
friends at a leetle homely supper that I shall gi'e to 
please the chap now he's come ? I can do no less than 
have a bit of a randy, as the saying is, now that he's 
here safe and sound.' 

Mrs. Garland wanted to catch her daughter's eye; 
she was in some doubt about her answer. But Anne's 
eye was not to be caught, for she hated hints, nods, 
and calculations of any kind in matters which should 
be regulated by impulse ; and the matron replied, ' If 
so be 'tis possible, we'll be there. You will tell us 
the day?' 

He would, as soon as he had seen son John. 
1 'Twill be rather untidy, you know, owing to my having 



no womenfolks in the house ; and my man David is a 
poor dunder-headed feller for getting up a feast. Poor 
chap ! his sight is bad, that's true, and he's very good 
at making the beds, and oiling the legs of the chairs 
and other furniture, or I should have got rid of him 
years ago.' 

' You should have a woman to attend to the house, 
Loveday,' said the widow. 

' Yes, I should, but . Well, 'tis a fine day, neigh- 
bours. Hark ! I fancy I hear the noise of pots and 
pans up at the camp, or my ears deceive me. Poor 
fellows, they must be hungry ! Good day t'ye, ma'am.' 
And the miller went away. 

All that afternoon Overcombe continued in a ferment 
of interest in the military investment, which brought the 
excitement of an invasion without the strife. There 
were great discussions on the merits and appearance 
of the soldiery. The event opened up to the girls un- 
bounded possibilities of adoring and being adored, and 
to the young men an embarrassment of dashing acquaint- 
ances which quite superseded falling in love. Thirteen 
of these lads incontinently stated within the space of a 
quarter of an hour that there was nothing in the world 
like going for a soldier. The young women stated little, 
but perhaps thought the more ; though, in justice, they 
glanced round towards the encampment from the cor- 
ners of their blue and brown eyes in the most demure 
and modest manner that could be desired. 

In the evening the village was lively with soldiers' 
wives ; a tree full of starlings would not have rivalled 
the chatter that was going on. These ladies were very 
brilliantly dressed, with more regard for colour than for 
material. Purple, red, and blue bonnets were numerous, 
with bunches of cocks' feathers; and one had on an 
Arcadian hat of green sarcenet, turned up in front to 
show her cap underneath. It had once belonged to an 
officer's lady, and was not so much stained, except where 

17 B 


the occasional storms of rain, incidental to a military 
life, had caused the green to run and stagnate in curious 
watermarks like peninsulas and islands. Some of the 
prettiest of these butterfly wives had been fortunate 
enough to get lodgings in the cottages, and were thus 
spared the necessity of living in huts and tents on the 
down. Those who had not been so fortunate were not 
rendered more amiable by the success of their sisters- 
in-arms, and called them names which brought forth 
retorts and rejoinders; till the end of these alternative 
remarks seemed dependent upon the close of the day. 

One of these new arrivals, who had a rosy nose and 
a slight thickness of voice, which, as Anne said, she 
couldn't help, poor thing, seemed to have seen so much 
of the world, and to have been in so many campaigns, 
that Anne would have liked to take her into their own 
house, so as to acquire some of that practical know- 
ledge of the history of England which the lady possessed, 
and which could not be got from books. But the 
narrowness of Mrs. Garland's rooms absolutely forbade 
this, and the houseless treasury of experience was obliged 
to look for quarters elsewhere. 

That night Anne retired early to bed. The events of 
the day, cheerful as they were in themselves, had been 
unusual enough to give her a slight headache. Before 
getting into bed she went to the window, and lifted the 
white curtains that hung across it. The moon was 
shining, though not as yet into the valley, but just peep- 
ing above the ridge of the down, where the white cones 
of the encampment were softly touched by its light. 
The quarter-guard and foremost tents showed themselves 
prominently; but the body of the camp, the officers' 
tents, kitchens, canteen, and appurtenances in the rear 
were blotted out by the ground, because of its height 
above her. She could discern the forms of one or two 
sentries moving to and fro across the disc of the moon 
at intervals. She could hear the frequent shuffling and 



tossing of the horses tied to the pickets; and in the 
other direction the miles-long voice of the sea, whisper- 
ing a louder note at those points of its length where 
hampered in its ebb and flow by some jutting promon- 
tory or group of boulders. Louder sounds suddenly 
broke this approach to silence; they came from the 
camp of dragoons, were taken up further to the right by 
the camp of the Hanoverians, and further on still by the 
body of infantry. It was tattoo. Feeling no desire to 
sleep, she listened yet longer, looked at Charles's Wain 
swinging over the church tower, and the moon ascending 
higher and higher over the right-hand streets of tents, 
where, instead of parade and bustle, there was nothing 
going on but snores and dreams, the tired soldiers lying 
by this time under their proper canvases, radiating like 
spokes from the pole of each tent. 

At last Anne gave up thinking, and retired like the 
rest. The night wore on, and, except the occasional 
' All's well ' of the sentries, no voice was heard in the 
camp or in the village below. 





1 HE next morning Miss Garland awoke with an im- 
pression that something more than usual was going on, 
and she recognized as soon as she could clearly reason 
that the proceedings, whatever they might be, lay not 
far away from her bedroom window. The sounds were 
chiefly those of pickaxes and shovels. Anne got up, 
and, lifting the corner of the curtain about an inch, 
peeped out. 

A number of soldiers were busily engaged in making 
a zigzag path down the incline from the camp to the 
river-head at the back of the house, and judging from 
the quantity of work already got through they must 
have begun very early. Squads of men were working 
at several equidistant points in the proposed pathway, 
and by the time that Anne had dressed herself each 
section of the length had been connected with those 
above and below it, so that a continuous and easy track 
was formed from the crest of the down to the bottom of 
the steep. 

The down rested on a bed of solid chalk, and the 
surface exposed by the roadmakers formed a white 
ribbon, serpenting from top to bottom. 



Then the relays of working soldiers all disappeared ; 
and, not long after, a troop of dragoons in watering order 
rode forward at the top and began to wind down the 
new path. They came lower and closer, and at last were 
immediately beneath her window, gathering themselves 
up on the space by the mill-pond. A number of the 
horses entered it at the shallow part, drinking and splash- 
ing and tossing about. Perhaps as many as thirty, half 
of them with riders on their backs, were in the water at 
one time ; the thirsty animals drank, stamped, flounced, 
and drank again, letting the clear, cool water dribble 
luxuriously from their mouths. Miller Loveday was look- 
ing on from over his garden hedge, and many admiring 
villagers were gathered around. 

Gazing up higher, Anne saw other troops descending 
by the new road from the camp, those which had already 
been to the pond making room for these by withdrawing 
along the village lane and returning to the top by a 
circuitous route. 

Suddenly the miller exclaimed, as in fulfilment of ex- 
pectation, ' Ah, John, my boy ; good morning ! ' And 
the reply of ' Morning, father,' came from a well-mounted 
soldier near him, who did not, however, form one of the 
watering party. Anne could not see his face very clearly, 
but she had no doubt that this was John Loveday. 

There were tones in the voice which reminded her of 
old times, those of her very infancy, when Johnny Love- 
day had been top boy in the village school, and had 
wanted to learn painting of her father. The deeps and 
shallows of the mill-pond being better known to him 
than to any other man in the camp, he had apparently 
come down on that account, and was cautioning some of 
the horsemen against riding too far in towards the mill- 

Since her childhood and his enlistment Anne had seen 
him only once, and then but casually, when he was home 
on a short furlough. His figure was not much changed 



from what it had been ; but the many sunrises and sun- 
sets which had passed since that day, developing her 
from a comparative child to womanhood, had abstracted 
some of his angularities, reddened his skin, and given 
him a foreign look. It was interesting to see what years 
of training and service had done for this man. Few 
would have supposed that the white and the blue 
coats of miller and soldier covered the forms of father 
and son. 

Before the last troop of dragoons rode off they were 
welcomed in a body by Miller Loveday, who still stood 
in his outer garden, this being a plot lying below the mill- 
tail, and stretching to the water-side. It was just the 
time of year when cherries are ripe, and hang in clusters 
under their dark leaves. While the troopers loitered on 
their horses, and chatted to the miller across the stream, 
he gathered bunches of the fruit, and held them up over 
the garden hedge for the acceptance of anybody who 
would have them ; whereupon the soldiers rode into the 
water to where it had washed holes in the garden bank, 
and, reining their horses there, caught the cherries in 
their forage-caps, or received bunches of them on the 
ends of their switches, with the dignified laugh that 
became martial men when stooping to slightly boyish 
amusement. It was a cheerful, careless, unpremeditated 
half-hour, which returned like the scent of a flower to the 
memories of some of those who enjoyed it, even at a 
distance of many years after, when they lay wounded 
and weak in foreign lands. 

Then dragoons and horses wheeled off as the others 
had done ; and troops of the German Legion next came 
down and entered in panoramic procession the space 
below Anne's eyes, as if on purpose to gratify her. 
These were notable by their mustachios, and queues 
wound tightly with brown ribbon to the level of their 
broad shoulder-blades. They were charmed, as the 
others had been, by the head and neck of Miss Garland 


in the little square window overlooking the scene of 
operations, and saluted her with devoted foreign civility, 
and in such overwhelming numbers that the modest 
girl suddenly withdrew herself into the room, and had 
a private blush between the chest of drawers and the 

When she came downstairs her mother said, ' I have 
been thinking what I ought to wear to Miller Loveday's 

' To Miller Loveday's ? ' said Anne. 

' Yes. The party is to-night. He has been in here 
this morning to tell me that he has seen his son, and 
they have fixed this evening.' 

' Do you think we ought to go, mother ? ' said Anne 
slowly, and looking at the smaller features of the window- 

' Why not ? ' said Mrs. Garland. 

' He will only have men there except ourselves, will 
he ? And shall we be right to go alone among 'em ? ' 

Anne had not recovered from the ardent gaze of 
the gallant York Hussars, whose voices reached her even 
now in converse with Loveday. 

' La, Anne, how proud you are ! ' said Widow Gar- 
land. 'Why, isn't he our nearest neighbour and our 
landlord ? and don't he always fetch our faggots from the 
wood, and keep us in vegetables for next to nothing ? ' 

' That's true,' said Anne. 

' Well, we can't be distant with the man. And if 
the enemy land next autumn, as everybody says they 
will, we shall have quite to depend upon the miller's 
waggon and horses. He's our only friend.' 

' Yes, so he is,' said Anne. ' And you had better 
go, mother; and I'll stay at home. They will be all 
men ; and I don't like going.' 

Mrs. Garland reflected. 'Well, if you don't want 
to go, I don't,' she said. ' Perhaps, as you are growing 
up, it would be better to stay at home this time. Your 



father was a professional man, certainly.' Having 
spoken as a mother, she sighed as a woman. 

' Why do you sigh, mother ? ' 

' You are so prim and stiff about everything.' 

' Very well we'll go.' 

' O no I am not sure that we ought. I did not 
promise, and there will be no trouble in keeping away.' 

Anne apparently did not feel certain of her own 
opinion, and, instead of supporting or contradicting, 
looked thoughtfully down, and abstractedly brought her 
hands together on her bosom, till her fingers met tip 
to tip. 

As the day advanced the young woman and her 
mother became aware that great preparations were in 
progress in the miller's wing of the house. The par- 
titioning between the Lovedays and the Garlands was 
not very thorough, consisting in many cases of a simple 
screwing up of the doors in the dividing walls; and 
thus when the mill began any new performances they 
proclaimed themselves at once in the more private 
dwelling. The smell of Miller Loveday's pipe came 
down Mrs. Garland's chimney of an evening with the 
greatest regularity. Every time that he poked his fire 
they knew from the vehemence or deliberateness of the 
blows the precise state of his mind ; and when he wound 
his clock on Sunday nights the whirr of that monitor 
reminded the widow to wind hers. This transit of 
noises was most perfect where Loveday's lobby adjoined 
Mrs. Garland's pantry; and Anne, who was occupied 
for some time in the latter apartment, enjoyed the 
privilege of hearing the visitors arrive and of catching 
stray sounds and words without the connecting phrases 
that made them entertaining, to judge from the laughter 
they evoked. The arrivals passed through the house 
and went into the garden, where they had tea in a large 
summer-house, an occasional blink of bright colour, 
through the foliage, being all that was visible of the 



assembly from Mrs. Garland's windows. When it grew 
dusk they all could be heard coming indoors to finish 
the evening in the parlour. 

Then there was an intensified continuation of the 
above-mentioned signs of enjoyment, talkings and haw- 
haws, runnings upstairs and runnings down, a slamming 
of doors and a clinking of cups and glasses; till the 
proudest adjoining tenant without friends on his own 
side of the partition might have been tempted to wish 
for entrance to that merry dwelling, if only to know the 
cause of these fluctuations of hilarity, and to see if the 
guests were really so numerous, and the observations so 
very amusing as they seemed. 

The stagnation of life on the Garland side of the 
party-wall began to have a very gloomy effect by the 
contrast. When, about half-past nine o'clock, one of 
these tantalizing bursts of gaiety had resounded for a 
longer time than usual, Anne said, ' I believe, mother, 
that you are wishing you had gone.' 

'I own to feeling that it would have been very 
cheerful if we had joined in,' said Mrs. Garland, in a 
hankering tone. ' I was rather too nice in listening 
to you and not going. The parson never calls upon 
us except in his spiritual capacity. Old Derriman is 
hardly genteel; and there's nobody left to speak to. 
Lonely people must accept what company they can get.' 

' Or do without it altogether.' 

'That's not natural, Anne; and I am surprised to 
hear a young woman like you say such a thing. Nature 
will not be stifled in that way. . . .' ( Song and powerful 
chorus heard through partition.) ' I declare the room 
on the other side of the wall seems quite a paradise 
compared with this.' 

' Mother, you are quite a girl,' said Anne in slightly 
superior accents. ' Go in and join them by all means.' 

' O no not now,' said her mother, resignedly shaking 
her head. ' It is too late now. We ought to have 



taken advantage of the invitation. They would look 
hard at me as a poor mortal who had no real business 
there, and the miller would say, with his broad smile, 
" Ah, you be obliged to come round." ' 

While the sociable and unaspiring Mrs. Garland 
continued thus to pass the evening in two places, her 
body in her own house and her mind in the miller's, 
somebody knocked at the door, and directly after the 
elder Loveday himself was admitted to the room. He 
was dressed in a suit between grand and gay, which 
he used for such occasions as the present, and his 
blue coat, yellow and red waistcoat with the three lower 
buttons unfastened, steel-buckled shoes and speckled 
stockings, became him very well in Mrs. Martha Gar- 
land's eyes. 

' Your servant, ma'am,' said the miller, adopting as a 
matter of propriety the raised standard of politeness 
required by his higher costume. ' Now, begging your 
pardon, I can't hae this. 'Tis unnatural that you two 
ladies should be biding here and we under the same 
roof making merry without ye. Your husband, poor 
man lovely picters that a' would make to be sure 
would have been in with us long ago if he had been in 
your place. I can take no nay from ye, upon my honour. 
You and maidy Anne must come in, if it be only for 
half-an-hour. John and his friends have got passes till 
twelve o'clock to-night, and, saving a few of our own 
village folk, the lowest visitor present is a very genteel 
German corporal. If you should hae any misgivings 
on the score of respectability, ma'am, we'll pack off the 
underbred ones into the back kitchen.' 

Widow Garland and Anne looked yes at each other 
after this appeal. 

' We'll follow you in a few minutes,' said the elder, 
smiling ; and she rose with Anne to go upstairs. 

' No, I'll wait for ye,' said the miller doggedly ; ' or 
perhaps you'll alter your mind again.' 



While the mother and daughter were upstairs dress- 
ing, and saying laughingly to each other, 'Well, we 
must go now,' as if they hadn't wished to go all the 
evening, other steps were heard in the passage; and 
the miller cried from below, 'Your pardon, Mrs. Gar- 
land ; but my son John has come to help fetch ye. 
Shall I ask him in till ye be ready ? ' 

' Certainly ; I shall be down in a minute/ screamed 
Anne's mother in a slanting voice towards the staircase. 

When she descended, the outline of the trumpet- 
major appeared half-way down the passage. ' This is 
John,' said the miller simply. 'John, you can mind 
Mrs. Martha Garland very well ? ' 

' Very well, indeed,' said the dragoon, coming in a 
little further. ' I should have called to see her last time, 
but I was only home a week. How is your little girl, 
ma'am ? ' 

Mrs. Garland said Anne was quite well. ' She is 
grown-up now. She will be down in a moment.' 

There was a slight noise of military heels without 
the door, at which the trumpet-major went and put his 
head outside, and said, ' All right coming in a minute,' 
when voices in the darkness replied, ' No hurry.' 

' More friends ? ' said Mrs. Garland. 

' O, it is only Buck and Jones come to fetch me, 
said the soldier. ' Shall I ask 'em in a minute, Mrs. 
Garland, ma'am?' 

' O yes,' said the lady ; and the two interesting 
forms of Trumpeter Buck and Saddler-sergeant Jones 
then came forward in the most friendly manner ; where- 
upon other steps were heard without, and it was dis- 
covered that Sergeant-master-tailor Brett and Farrie'r- 
extraordinary Johnson were outside, having come to 
fetch Messrs. Buck and Jones, as Buck and Jones had 
come to fetch the trumpet-major. 

As there seemed a possibility of Mrs. Garland's small 
passage being choked up with human figures personally 


unknown to her, she was relieved to hear Anne coming 

' Here's my little girl,' said Mrs. Garland, and the 
trumpet-major looked with a sort of awe upon the muslin 
apparition who came forward, and stood quite dumb 
before her. Anne recognized him as the trooper she 
had seen from her window, and welcomed him kindly. 
There was something in his honest face which made her 
feel instantly at home with him. 

At this frankness of manner Loveday who was not 
a ladies' man blushed, and made some alteration in 
his bodily posture, began a sentence which had no end, 
and showed quite a boy's embarrassment. Recovering 
himself, he politely offered his arm, which Anne took 
with a very pretty grace. He conducted her through his 
comrades, who glued themselves perpendicularly to the 
wall to let her pass, and then they went out of the door, 
her mother following with the miller, and supported by 
the body of troopers, the latter walking with the usual 
cavalry gait, as if their thighs were rather too long for 
them. Thus they crossed the threshold of the mill-house 
and up the passage, the paving of which was worn into 
a gutter by the ebb and flow of feet that had been going 
on there ever since Tudor times. 





WHEN the group entered the presence of the company 
a lull in the conversation was caused by the sight of new 
visitors, and (of course) by the charm of Anne's appear- 
ance ; until the old men, who had daughters of their own, 
perceiving that she was only a half-formed girl, resumed 
their tales and toss-potting with unconcern. 

Miller Loveday had fraternized with half the soldiers 
in the camp since their arrival, and the effect of this 
upon his party was striking both chromatically and 
otherwise. Those among the guests who first attracted 
the eye were the sergeants and sergeant-majors of Love- 
day's regiment, fine hearty men, who sat facing the 
candles, entirely resigned to physical comfort. Then 
there were other non-commissioned officers, a German, 
two Hungarians, and a Swede, from the foreign hussars 
young men with a look of sadness on their faces, as if 
they did not much like serving so far from home. All 
of them spoke English fairly well. Old age was repre- 
sented by Simon Burden the pensioner, and the shady side 
of fifty by Corporal Tullidge, his friend and neighbour, 
who was hard of hearing, and sat with his hat on over a 
red cotton handkerchief that was wound several times 



round his head. These two veterans were employed as 
watchers at the neighbouring beacon, which had lately 
been erected by the Lord-Lieutenant for firing whenever 
the descent on the coast should be made. They lived in 
a little hut on the hill, close by the heap of faggots ; but 
to-night they had found deputies to watch in their stead. 

On a lower plane of experience and qualifications 
came neighbour James Comfort, of the Volunteers, a 
soldier by courtesy, but a blacksmith by rights; also 
William Tremlett and Anthony Cripplestraw, of the local 
forces. The two latter men of war were dressed merely 
as villagers, and looked upon the regulars from a humble 
position in the background. The remainder of the party 
was made up of a neighbouring dairyman or two, and their 
wives, invited by the miller, as Anne was glad to see, that 
she and her mother should not be the only women there. 

The elder Loveday apologized in a whisper to Mrs. 
Garland for the presence of the inferior villagers. ' But 
as they are learning to be brave defenders of their home 
and country, ma'am, as fast as they can master the drill, 
and have worked for me off and on these many years, 
I've asked 'em in, and thought you'd excuse it.' 

' Certainly, Miller Loveday,' said the widow. 

' And the same of old Burden and Tullidge. They 
have served well and long in the Foot, and even now 
have a hard time of it up at the beacon in wet weather. 
So after giving them a meal in the kitchen I just asked 
'em in to hear the singing. They faithfully promise that 
as soon as ever the gunboats appear in view, and they 
have fired the beacon, to run down here first, in case we 
shouldn't see it. 'Tis worth while to be friendly with 
'em, you see, though their tempers be queer.' 

' Quite worth while, miller,' said she. 

Anne was rather embarrassed by the presence of the 
regular military in such force, and at first confined her 
words to the dairymen's wives she was acquainted with, 
and to the two old soldiers of the parish. 



' Why didn't ye speak to me afore, chiel ? ' said one 
of these, Corporal Tullidge, the elderly man with the 
hat, while she was talking to old Simon Burden. ' I 
met ye in the lane yesterday,' he added reproachfully, 
' but ye didn't notice me at all.' 

' I am very sorry for it,' she said ; but, being afraid 
to shout in such a company, the effect of her remark 
upon the corporal was as if she had not spoken at all. 

' You was coming along with yer head full of some 
high notions or other no doubt,' continued the uncom- 
promising corporal in the same loud voice. ' Ah, 'tis 
the young bucks that get all the notice nowadays, and 
old folks are quite forgot ! I can mind well enough how 
young Bob Loveday used to lie in wait for ye.' 

Anne blushed deeply, and stopped his too excursive 
discourse by hastily saying that she always respected old 
folks like him. The corporal thought she inquired why 
he always kept his hat on, and answered that it was 
because his head was injured at Valenciennes, in July, 
Ninety-three. ' We were trying to bomb down the tower, 
and a piece of the shell struck me. I was no more nor 
less than a dead man for two days. If it hadn't a been 
for that and my smashed arm I should have come home 
none the worse for my five-and- twenty years' service.' 

' You have got a silver plate let into yer head, haven't 
ye, corpel ? said Anthony Cripplestraw, who had drawn 
near. ' I have heard that the way they morticed yer 
skull was a beautiful piece of workmanship. Perhaps 
the young woman would like to see the place? 'Tis 
a curious sight, Mis'ess Anne; you don't see such a 
wownd every day.' 

' No, thank you,' said Anne hurriedly, dreading, as 
did all the young people of Overcombe, the spectacle of 
the corporal uncovered. He had never been seen in 
public without the hat and the handkerchief since his 
return in Ninety-four ; and strange stories were told of 
the ghastliness of his appearance bare-headed, a little 

3 T 


boy who had accidentally beheld him going to bed in 
that state having been frightened into fits. 

'Well, if the young woman don't want to see yer 
head, maybe she'd like to hear yer arm ? ' continued 
Cripplestraw, earnest to please her. 

' Hey ? ' said the corporal. 

' Your arm hurt too ? ' cried Anne. 

' Knocked to a pummy at the same time as my 
head,' said Tullidge dispassionately. 

' Rattle yer arm, corpel, and show her,' said Cripple- 

' Yes, sure,' said the corporal, raising the limb slowly, 
as if the glory of exhibition had lost some of its novelty, 
though he was willing to oblige. Twisting it mercilessly 
about with his right hand he produced a crunching 
among the bones at every motion, Cripplestraw seeming 
to derive great satisfaction from the ghastly sound. 

' How very shocking ! ' said Anne, painfully anxious 
for him to leave off. 

' O, it don't hurt him, bless ye. Do it, corpel ? ' 
said Cripplestraw. 

' Not a bit,' said the corporal, still working his arm 
with great energy. 

' There's no life in the bones at all. No life in 'em, 
I tell her, corpel ! ' 

1 None at all.' 

' They be as loose as a bag of ninepins,' explained 
Cripplestraw in continuation. ' You can feel 'em quite 
plain, Mis'ess Anne. If ye would like to, he'll undo 
his sleeve in a minute to oblege ye ? ' 

' O no, no, please not ! I quite understand,' said 
the young woman. 

' Do she want to hear or see any more, or don't 
she ? ' the corporal inquired, with a sense that his time 
was getting wasted. 

Anne explained that she did not on any account; 
and managed to escape from the corner. 





1 HE trumpet-major now contrived to place himself 
near her, Anne's presence having evidently been a great 
pleasure to him since the moment of his first seeing her. 
She was quite at her ease with him, and asked him if he 
thought that Buonaparte would really come during the 
summer, and many other questions which the gallant 
dragoon could not answer, but which he nevertheless 
liked to be asked. William Tremlett, who had not enjoyed 
a sound night's rest since the First Consul's menace 
had become known, pricked up his ears at sound of this 
subject, and inquired if anybody had seen the terrible 
flat-bottomed boats that the enemy were to cross in. 

' My brother Robert saw several of them paddling 
about the shore the last time he passed the Straits of 
Dover,' said the trumpet-major ; and he further startled 
the company by informing them that there were sup- 
posed to be more than fifteen hundred of these boats, 
and that they would carry a hundred men apiece. So 
that a descent of one hundred and fifty thousand men 
might be expected any day as soon as Boney had 
brought his plans to bear. 

' Lord ha' mercy upon us ! ' said William Tremlett. 
33 c 


' The night-time is when they will try it, if they try it 
at all,' said old Tullidge, in the tone of one whose watch 
at the beacon must, in the nature of things, have given 
him comprehensive views of the situation. ' It is my 
belief that the point they will choose for making the 
shore is just over there,' and he nodded with indifference 
towards a section of the coast at a hideous nearness to 
the house in which they were assembled, whereupon 
Fencible Tremlett, and Cripplestraw of the Locals, tried 
to show no signs of trepidation. 

' When d'ye think 'twill be ? ' said Volunteer Com- 
fort, the blacksmith. 

' I can't answer to a day,' said the corporal, ' but it 
will certainly be in a down-channel tide ; and instead of 
pulling hard against it, he'll let his boats drift, and that 
will bring 'em right into Weymouth Bay. 'Twill be a 
beautiful stroke of war, if so be 'tis quietly done ! ' 

' Beautiful,' said Cripplestraw, moving inside his 
clothes. ' But how if we should be all abed, corp'el ? 
You can't expect a man to be brave in his shirt, especi- 
ally we Locals, that have only got so far as shoulder 

' He's not coming this summer. He'll never come 
at all,' said a tall sergeant-major decisively. 

Loveday the soldier was too much engaged in attend- 
ing upon Anne and her mother to join in these sur- 
mises, bestirring himself to get the ladies some of the 
best liquor the house afforded, which had, as a matter 
of fact, crossed the Channel as privately as Buonaparte 
wished his army to do, and had been landed on a dark 
night over the cliff. After this he asked Anne to sing ; 
but though she had a very pretty voice in private per- 
formances of that nature, she declined to oblige him; 
turning the subject by making a hesitating inquiry about 
his brother Robert, whom he had mentioned just before. 

' Robert is as well as ever, thank you, Miss Garland,' 
he said. ' He is now mate of the brig Pewit rather 



young for such a command ; but the owner puts great 
trust in him.' The trumpet-major added, deepening his 
thoughts to a profounder view of the person discussed, 
' Bob is in love.' 

Anne looked conscious, and listened attentively ; but 
Loveday did not go on. 

' Much ? ' she asked. 

' I can't exactly say. And the strange part of it is that 
he never tells us who the woman is. Nobody knows at all.' 

'He will tell, of course ?' said Anne, in the remote 
tone of a person with whose sex such matters had no 
connexion whatever. 

Loveday shook his head, and the tete-h-tete was put 
an end to by a burst of singing from one of the sergeants, 
who was followed at the end of his song by others, each 
giving a ditty in his turn; the singer standing up in 
front of the table, stretching his chin .well into the air, 
as though to abstract every possible wrinkle from his 
throat, and then plunging into the melody. When this 
was over one of the foreign hussars the genteel Ger- 
man of Miller Loveday's description, who called himself 
a Hungarian, and in reality belonged to no definite 
country performed at Trumpet-major Loveday's request 
the series of wild motions that he denominated his 
national dance, that Anne might see what it was like. 
Miss Garland was the flower of the whole company ; the 
soldiers one and all, foreign and English, seemed to be 
quite charmed by her presence, as indeed they well 
might be, considering how seldom they came into the 
society of such as she. 

Anne and her mother were just thinking of retiring 
to their own dwelling when Sergeant Stanner of the 

th Foot, who was recruiting at Budmouth, began a 

satirical song : 

When law'-yers strive' to heal' a breach', 
And par'-sons prac'-tise what' they preach' ; 



Then lit'-tle Bo'-ney he"ll pounce down', 
And march' his men' on Lon'-don town' ! 

Chorus. Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, tol'-lol-lo'-rum, 
Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, tol'-lol-lay. 

When jus'-ti-ces' hold e'qual scales', 
And rogues' are on'-ly found' in jails' ; 
Then lit'tle Bo'-ney he' '11 pounce down', 
And march' his men' on Lon'don town' ! 

Chorus. Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, &c. 

When rich' men find' their wealth' a curse', 
And fill' there-with' the poor' man's purse' ; 
Then lit'-tle Bo'-ney he"ll pounce down', 
And march' his men' on Lon'-don town' ! 

Chorus. Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, &c. 

Poor Stanner ! In spite of his satire, he fell at the 
bloody battle of Albuera a few years after this pleasantly 
spent summer at the Georgian watering-place, being 
mortally wounded and trampled down by a French 
hussar when the brigade was deploying into line under 

While Miller Loveday was saying 'Well done, Mr. 
Stanner ! ' at the close of the thirteenth stanza, which 
seemed to be the last, and Mr. Stanner was modestly 
expressing his regret that he could do no better, a 
stentorian voice was heard outside the window shutter 

Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, tol'-lol-lo'-rum, 
Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, tol'-lol-lay'. 

The company was silent in a moment at this rein- 
forcement, and only the military tried not to look sur- 
prised. While all wondered who the singer could be 
somebody entered the porch ; the door opened, and in 
came a young man, about the size and weight of the 


Farnese Hercules, in the uniform of the yeomanry 

' Tis young Squire Derriman, old Mr. Derriman's 
nephew,' murmured voices in the background. 

Without waiting to address anybody, or apparently 
seeing who were gathered there, the colossal man waved 
his cap above his head and went on in tones that shook 
the window-panes : 

When hus'-bands with' their wives' agree', 
And maids' won't wed' from mod'-es-ty / , 
Then lit'-tle Bo'-ney he"ll pounce down', 
And march' his men' on Lon'-don town' ! 

Chorus. Rol'-li-cum ro'-rum, tol'-lol-lo'-rum, &c., &c. 

It was a verse which had been omitted by the gallant 
Stanner, out of respect to the ladies. 

The new-comer was red-haired and of florid com- 
plexion, and seemed full of a conviction that his whim 
of entering must be their pleasure, which for the 
moment it was. 

No ceremony, good men all,' he said ; ' I was pass- 
ing by, and my ear was caught by the singing. I like 
singing ; 'tis warming and cheering, and shall not be put 
down. I should like to hear anybody say otherwise.' 

' Welcome, Master Derriman,' said the miller, filling 
a glass and handing it to the yeoman. ' Come all the 
way from quarters, then ? I hardly knowed ye in your 
soldier's clothes. You'd look more natural with a spud 
in your hand, sir. I shouldn't ha' known ye at all if I 
hadn't heard that you were called out.' 

' More natural with a spud ! have a care, miller,' 
said the young giant, the fire of his complexion increasing 
to scarlet. ' I don't mean anger, but but a soldier's 
honour, you know ! ' 

The military in the background laughed a little, and 
the yeoman then for the first time discovered that there 


were more regulars present than one. He looked 
momentarily disconcerted, but expanded again to full 

'Right, right, Master Derriman, no offence 'twas 
only my joke,' said the genial miller. ' Everybody's a 
soldier nowadays. Drink a drap o' this cordial, and 
don't mind words.' 

The young man drank without the least reluctance, 
and said, 'Yes, miller, I am called out. Tis ticklish 
times for us soldiers now; we hold our lives in our 
hands. What are those fellows grinning at behind the 
table ? I say, we do ! ' 

' Staying with your uncle at the farm for a day or 
two, Mr. Derriman ? ' 

' No, no ; as I told you, six mile off. Billeted at 
Casterbridge. But I have to call and see the old, 
old ' 

' Gentleman ? ' 

' Gentleman ! no, skinflint. He lives upon the 
sweepings of the barton; ha, ha!' And the speaker's 
regular white teeth showed themselves like snow in a 
Dutch cabbage. 'Well, well, the profession of arms 
makes a man proof against all that. I take things as I 
find 'em.' 

' Quite right, Master Derriman. Another drop ? ' 

' No, no. I'll take no more than is good for me no 
man should ; so don't tempt me.' 

The yeoman then saw Anne, and by an unconscious 
gravitation went towards her and the other women, 
flinging a remark to John Loveday in passing. 'Ah, 
Loveday ! I heard you were come ; in short, I come o' 
purpose to see you. Glad to see you enjoying yourself 
at home again.' 

The trumpet-major replied civilly, though not without 
grimness, for he seemed hardly to like Derriman's 
motion towards Anne. 

' Widow Garland's daughter ! yes, 'tis ! surely. You 


remember me ? I have been here before. Festus Der- 
riman, Yeomanry Cavalry.' 

Anne gave a little curtsey. ' I know your name is 
Festus that's all.' 

'Yes, 'tis well known especially latterly.' He 
dropped his voice to confidence pitch. 'I suppose 
your friends here are disturbed by my coming in, as 
they don't seem to talk much ? I don't mean to inter- 
rupt the party ; but I often find that people are put out 
by my coming among 'em, especially when I've got my 
regimentals on.' 

' La ! and are they ? ' 

' Yes ; 'tis the way I have.' He further lowered his 
tone, as if they had been old friends, though in reality 
he had only seen her three or four times. ' And how 
did you come to be here ? Dash my wig, I don't like to 
see a nice young lady like you in this company. You 
should come to some of our yeomanry sprees in Caster- 
bridge or Shottsford-Forum. O, but the girls do come ! 
The yeomanry are respected men, men of good substan. 
tial families, many farming their own land ; and every 
one among us rides his own charger, which is more than 
these cussed fellows do.' He nodded towards the 

'Hush, hush! Why, these are friends and neigh- 
bours of Miller Loveday, and he is a great friend of ours 
our best friend,' said Anne with great emphasis, and 
reddening at the sense of injustice to their host. ' What 
are you thinking of, talking like that ? It is ungenerous 
in you.' 

'Ha, ha! I've affronted you. Isn't that it, fair 
angel, fair what do you call it? fair vestal? Ah, 
well ! would you was safe in my own house ! But 
honour must be minded now, not courting. Rollicum- 
rorum, tol-lol-lorum. Pardon me, my sweet, I like ye ! 
It may be a come down for me, owning land ; but I do 
like ye.' 



' Sir, please be quiet,' said Anne, distressed. 

' I will, I will. Well, Corporal Tullidge, how's your 
head ? ' he said, going towards the other end of the 
room, and leaving Anne to herself. 

The company had again recovered its liveliness, and 
it was a long time before the bouncing Rufus who had 
joined them could find heart to tear himself away from 
their society and good liquors, although he had had quite 
enough of the latter before he entered. The natives 
received him at his own valuation, and the soldiers of 
the camp, who sat beyond the table, smiled behind their 
pipes at his remarks, with a pleasant twinkle of the eye 
which approached the satirical, John Loveday being not 
the least conspicuous in this bearing. But he and his 
friends were too courteous on such an occasion as the 
present to challenge the young man's large remarks, and 
readily permitted him to set them right on the details 
of camping and other military routine, about which the 
troopers seemed willing to let persons hold any opinion 
whatever, provided that they themselves were not obliged 
to give attention to it ; showing, strangely enough, that 
if there was one subject more than another which never 
interested their minds, it was the art of war. To them 
the art of enjoying good company in Overcombe Mill, 
the details of the miller's household, the swarming of his 
bees, the number of his chickens, and the fatness of his 
pigs, were matters of infinitely greater concern. 

The present writer, to whom this party has been 
described times out of number, by members of the 
Loveday family and other aged people now passed away, 
can never enter the old living-room of Overcombe Mill 
without beholding the genial scene through the mists of 
the seventy or eighty years that intervene between then 
and now. First and brightest to the eye are the dozen 
candles, scattered about regardless of expense, and kept 
well snuffed by the miller, who walks round the room 
at intervals of five minutes, snuffers in hand, and nips 


each wick with great precision, and with something of 
an executioner's grim look upon his face as he closes 
the snuffers upon the neck of the candle. Next to the 
candle-light show the red and blue coats and white 
breeches of the soldiers nearly twenty of them in all 
besides the ponderous Derriman the head of the latter, 
and, indeed, the heads of all who are standing up, being 
in dangerous proximity to the black beams of the ceiling. 
There is not one among them who would attach any 
meaning to 'Vittoria,' or gather from the syllables 
' Waterloo ' the remotest idea of their own glory or death. 
Next appears the correct and innocent Anne, little 
thinking what things Time has in store for her at no 
great distance off. She looks at Derriman with a half- 
uneasy smile as he clanks hither and thither, and hopes 
he will not single her out again to hold a private 
dialogue with which, however, he does, irresistibly 
attracted by the white muslin figure. She must, of 
course, look a little gracious again now, lest his mood 
should turn from sentimental to quarrelsome no im, 
possible contingency with the yeoman-soldier, as her 
quick perception had noted. 

' Well, well ; this idling won't do for me, folks,' he 
at last said, to Anne's relief. ' I ought not to have 
come in, by rights ; but I heard you enjoying yourselves, 
and thought it might be worth while to see what you 
were up to ; I have several miles to go before bedtime ; ' 
and stretching his arms, lifting his chin, and shaking 
his head, to eradicate any unseemly curve or wrinkle 
from his person, the yeoman wished them an off-hand 
good-night, and departed. 

c You should have teased him a little more, father,' 
said the trumpet-major drily. 'You could soon have 
made him as crabbed as a bear.' 

' I didn't want to provoke the chap 'twasn't worth 
while. He came in friendly enough,' said the gentle 
miller without looking up. 


' I don't think he was overmuch friendly,' said John. 

' 'Tis as well to be neighbourly with folks, if they be 
not quite onbearable,' his father genially replied, as he 
took off his coat to go and draw more ale this peri- 
odical stripping to the shirt-sleeves being necessitated 
by the narrowness of the cellar and the smeary effect of 
its numerous cobwebs upon best clothes. 

Some of the guests then spoke of Fess Derriman as 
not such a bad young man if you took him right and 
humoured him; others said that he was nobody's 
enemy but his own ; and the elder ladies mentioned in 
a tone of interest that he was likely to come into a deal 
of money at his uncle's death. The person who did 
not praise was the one who knew him best, who had 
known him as a boy years ago, when he had lived 
nearer to Overcombe than he did at present. This 
unappreciative person was the trumpet-major. 




A.T this time in the history of Overcombe one solitary 
newspaper occasionally found its way into the village. 
It was lent by the postmaster at Budmouth (who, in 
some mysterious way, got it for nothing through his 
connexion with the mail) to Mr. Derriman at the Hall, 
by whom it was handed on to Mrs. Garland when it 
was not more than a fortnight old. Whoever re- 
members anything about the old farmer-squire will, of 
course, know well enough that this delightful privilege 
of reading history in long columns was not accorded to 
the Widow Garland for nothing. It was by such in- 
genuous means that he paid her for her daughter's 
occasional services in reading aloud to him and making 
out his accounts, in which matters the farmer, whose 
guineas were reported to touch five figures some said 
more was not expert. 

Mrs. Martha Garland, as a respectable widow, 
occupied a twilight rank between the benighted villagers 
and the well-informed gentry, and kindly made herself 
useful to the former as letter-writer and reader, and 
general translator from the printing tongue. It was not 
without satisfaction that she stood at her door of an 



evening, newspaper in hand, with three or four cottagers 
standing round, and poured down their open throats 
any paragraph that she might choose to select from the 
stirring ones of the period. When she had done with 
the sheet Mrs. Garland passed it on to the miller, the 
miller to the grinder, and the grinder to the grinder's 
boy, in whose hands it became subdivided into half 
pages, quarter pages, and irregular triangles, and ended 
its career as a paper cap, a flagon bung, or a wrapper 
for his bread and cheese. 

Notwithstanding his compact with Mrs. Garland, old 
Mr. Derriman kept the paper so long, and was so chary 
of wasting his man's time on a merely intellectual errand, 
that unless she sent for the Journal it seldom reached 
her hands. Anne was always her messenger. The 
arrival of the soldiers led Mrs. Garland to despatch her 
daughter for it the day after the party; and away she 
went in her hat and pelisse, in a direction at right angles 
to that of the encampment on the hill. 

Walking across the fields for the distance of a mile or 
two, she came out upon the high-road by a wicket-gate. 
On the other side of the way was the entrance to what 
at first sight looked like a neglected meadow, the gate 
being a rotten one, without a bottom rail, and broken- 
down palings lying on each side. The dry hard mud of 
the opening was marked with several horse and cow 
tracks, that had been half obliterated by fifty score sheep 
tracks, surcharged with the tracks of a man and a dog. 
Beyond this geological record appeared a carriage-road, 
nearly grown over with grass, which Anne followed. It 
descended by a gentle slope, dived under dark-rinded 
elm and chestnut trees, and conducted her on till the 
hiss of a waterfall and the sound of the sea became 
audible, when it took a bend round a swamp of fresh 
watercress and brooklime that had once been a fish- 
pond. Here the grey, weather-worn front of a building 
edged from behind the trees. It was Oxwell Hall, 


once the seat of a family now extinct, and of late years 
used as a farmhouse. 

Benjamin Derriman, who owned the crumbling place, 
had originally been only the occupier and tenant-farmer 
of the fields around. His wife had brought him a small 
fortune, and during the growth of their only son there 
had been a partition of the Oxwell estate, giving the 
farmer, now a widower, the opportunity of acquiring the 
building and a small portion of the land attached on ex- 
ceptionally low terms. But two years after the purchase 
the boy died, and Derriman's existence was paralyzed 
forthwith. It was said that since that event he had 
devised the house and fields to a distant female relative, 
to keep them out of the hands of his detested nephew ; 
but this was not certainly known. 

The hall was as interesting as mansions in a state of 
declension usually are, as the excellent county history 
showed. That popular work in folio contained an old 
plate dedicated to the last scion of the original owners, 
from which drawing it appeared that in 1750, the date 
of publication, the windows were covered with little 
scratches like black flashes of lightning ; that a horn of 
hard smoke came out of each of the twelve chimneys ; 
that a lady and a lap-dog stood on the lawn in a strenu- 
ously walking position ; and a substantial cloud and 
nine flying birds of no known species hung over the 
trees to the north-east. 

The rambling and neglected dwelling had all the 
romantic excellencies and practical drawbacks which such 
mildewed places share in common with caves, mountains, 
wildernesses, glens, and other homes of poesy that people 
of taste wish to live and die in. Mustard and cress 
could have been raised on the inner plaster of the dewy 
walls at any height not exceeding three feet from the floor; 
and mushrooms of the most refined and thin-stemmed 
kinds grew up through the chinks of the larder paving. 
As for the outside, Nature, in the ample time that had 


been given her, had so mingled her filings and efface- 
ments with the marks of human wear and tear upon the 
house, that it was often hard to say in which of the two, 
or if in both, any particular obliteration had its origin. 
The keenness was gone from the mouldings of the door- 
ways, but whether worn out by the rubbing past of in- 
numerable people's shoulders, and the moving of their 
heavy furniture, or by Time in a grander and more 
abstract form, did not appear. The iron stanchions 
inside the window-panes were eaten away to the size of 
wires at the bottom where they entered the stone, the 
condensed breathings of generations having settled there 
in pools and rusted them. The panes themselves had 
either lost their shine altogether or become iridescent as a 
peacock's tail. In the middle of the porch was a vertical 
sun-dial, whose gnomon swayed loosely about when the 
wind blew, and cast its shadow hither and thither, as 
much as to say, ' Here's your fine model dial ; here's 
any time for any man ; I am an old dial ; and shiftiness 
is the best policy.' 

Anne passed under the arched gateway which screened 
the main front ; over it was the porter's lodge, reached by 
a spiral staircase. Across the archway was fixed a row 
of wooden hurdles, one of which Anne opened and closed 
behind her. Their necessity was apparent as soon as 
she got inside. The quadrangle of the ancient pile was 
a bed of mud and manure, inhabited by calves, geese, 
ducks, and sow pigs surprisingly large, with young ones 
surprisingly small. In the groined porch some heifers 
were amusing themselves by stretching up their necks 
and licking the carved stone capitals that supported the 
vaulting. Anne went on to a second and open door, 
across which was another hurdle to keep the live stock 
from absolute community with the inmates. There being 
no knocker, she knocked by means of a short stick which 
was laid against the post for that purpose ; but nobody at- 
tending, she entered the passage, and tried an inner door. 



A slight noise was heard inside, the door opened 
about an inch, and a strip of decayed face, including the 
eye and some forehead wrinkles, appeared within the 

' Please I have come for the paper,' said Anne. 

' O, is it you, dear Anne ? ' whined the inmate, opening 
the door a little further. 'I could hardly get to the 
door to open it, I am so weak.' 

The speaker was a wizened old gentleman, in a coat 
the colour of his farmyard, breeches of the same hue, 
unbuttoned at the knees, revealing a bit of leg above his 
stocking and a dazzlingly white shirt-frill to compensate 
for this untidiness below. The edge of his skull round 
his eye-sockets was visible through the skin, and he 
had a mouth whose corners made towards the back 
of his head on the slightest provocation. He walked 
with great apparent difficulty back into the room, Anne 
following him. 

'Well, you can have the paper if you want it; but 
you never give me much time to see what's in en ! 
Here's the paper.' He held it out, but before she could 
take it he drew it back again, saying, ' I have not had 
my share o' the paper by a good deal, what with my 
weak sight, and people coming so soon for en. I am a 
poor put-upon soul ; but my " Duty of Man " will be left 
to me when the newspaper is gone.' And he sank into 
his chair with an air of exhaustion. 

Anne said that she did not wish to take the paper if 
he had not done with it, and that she was really later 
in the week than usual, owing to the soldiers. 

' Soldiers, yes rot the soldiers ! And now hedges 
will be broke, and hens' nests robbed, and sucking-pigs 
stole, and I don't know what all. Who's to pay for't, 
sure ? I reckon that because the soldiers be come you 
don't mean to be kind enough to read to me what I 
hadn't time to read myself.' 

She would read if he wished, she said ; she was in 


no hurry. And sitting herself down she unfolded the 

' " Dinner at Carlton House " ? ' 

< No, faith. Tis nothing to I.' 

' " Defence of the country " ? ' 

' Ye may read that if ye will. I hope there will be 
no billeting in this parish, or any wild work of that 
sort ; for what would a poor old lamiger like myself do 
with soldiers in his house, and nothing to feed 'em with ? ' 

Anne began reading, and continued at her task 
nearly ten minutes, when she was interrupted by the 
appearance in the quadrangular slough without of a 
large figure in the uniform of the yeomanry cavalry. 

' What do you see out there ? ' said the farmer with 
a start, as she paused and slowly blushed. 

' A soldier one of the yeomanry,' said Anne, not 
quite at her ease. 

' Scrounch it all 'tis my nephew ! ' exclaimed the 
old man, his face turning to a phosphoric pallor, and 
his body twitching with innumerable alarms as he 
formed upon his face a gasping smile of joy, with 
which to welcome the new-coming relative. ' Read 
on, prithee, Miss Garland.' 

Before she had read far the visitor straddled over 
the door-hurdle into the passage and entered the room. 

' Well, nunc, how do you feel ? ' said the giant, 
shaking hands with the farmer in the manner of one 
violently ringing a hand-bell. ' Glad to see you.' 

' Bad and weakish, Festus,' replied the other, his 
person responding passively to the rapid vibrations 
imparted. ' O, be tender, please a little softer, there's 
a dear nephew ! My arm is no more than a cobweb.' 

' Ah, poor soul ! ' 

'Yes, I am not much more than a skeleton, and 
can't bear rough usage.' 

' Sorry to hear that ; but I'll bear your affliction in 
mind. Why, you are all in a tremble, Uncle Benjy ! ' 


' 'Tis because I am so gratified,' said the old man. 
' I always get all in a tremble when I am taken by 
surprise by a beloved relation.' 

' Ah, that's it ! ' said the yeoman, bringing his hand 
down on the back of his uncle's chair with a loud 
smack, at which Uncle Benjy nervously sprang three 
inches from his seat and dropped into it again. ' Ask 
your pardon for frightening ye, uncle. 'Tis how we 
do in the army, and I forgot your nerves. You have 
scarcely expected to see me, I dare say, but here I am.' 

' I am glad to see ye. You are not going to stay 
long, perhaps ? ' 

' Quite the contrary. I am going to stay ever so 
long ! ' 

'O I see! I am so glad, dear Festus. Ever so 
long, did ye say ? ' 

' Yes, ever so long,' said the young gentleman, sitting 
on the slope of the bureau and stretching out his legs 
as props. ' I am going to make this quite my own 
home whenever I am off duty, as long as we stay out. 
And after that, when the campaign is over in the 
autumn, I shall come here, and live with you like your 
own son, and help manage your land and your farm, 
you know, and make you a comfortable old man.' 

' Ah ! How you do please me ! ' said the farmer, with 
a horrified smile, and grasping the arms of his chair to 
sustain himself. 

' Yes ; I have been meaning to come a long time, as 
I knew you'd like to have me, Uncle Benjy ; and 'tisn't 
in my heart to refuse you.' 

' You always was kind that way ! ' 

' Yes ; I always was. But I ought to tell you at 
once, not to disappoint you, that I shan't be here always 
all day, that is, because of my military duties as a 
cavalry man.' 

' O, not always ? That's a pity ! ' exclaimed the 
farmer, with a cheerful eye. 

49 D 


1 1 knew you'd say so. And I shan't be able to sleep 
here at night sometimes, for the same reason.' 

' Not sleep here o' nights ? ' said the old gentleman, 
still more relieved. 'You ought to sleep here you 
certainly ought ; in short, you must. But you can't ! ' 

' Not while we are with the colours. But directly 
that's over the very next day I'll stay here all day, 
and all night too, to oblige you, since you ask me so 
very kindly.' 

' Th-thank ye, that will be very nice ! ' said Uncle 

'Yes; I knew 'twould relieve ye.' And he kindly 
stroked his uncle's head, the old man expressing his 
enjoyment at the affectionate token by a death's-head 
grimace. ' I should have called to see you the other 
night when I passed through here,' Festus continued; 
' but it was so late that I couldn't come so far out of 
my way. You won't think it unkind ? ' 

' Not at all, if you couldrit. I never shall think it 
unkind if you really carit come, you know, Festy.' 
There was a few minutes' pause, and as the nephew said 
nothing Uncle Benjy went on : ' I wish I had a little 
present for ye. But as ill-luck would have it we have 
lost a deal of stock this year, and I have had to pay 
away so much.' 

'Poor old man I know you have. Shall I lend 
you a seven-shilling piece, Uncle Benjy ? ' 

' Ha, ha ! you must have your joke ; well, I'll think 
o' that. And so they expect Buonaparty to choose this 
very part of the coast for his landing, hey ? And that 
the yeomanry be to stand in front as the forlorn hope ? ' 

' Who says so ? ' asked the florid son of Mars, losing 
a little redness. 

' The newspaper-man.' 

'O, there's nothing in that,' said Festus bravely. 
'The gover'ment thought it possible at one time; but 
they don't know.' 



Festus turned himself as he talked, and now said 
abruptly : ' Ah, who's this ? Why, 'tis our little Anne ! ' 
He had not noticed her till this moment, the young 
woman having at his entry kept her face over the news- 
paper, and then got away to the back part of the room. 
' And are you and your mother always going to stay 
down there in the mill-house watching the little fishes, 
Miss Anne?' 

She said that it was uncertain, in a tone of truthful 
precision which the question was hardly worth, looking 
forcedly at him as she spoke. But she blushed fitfully, 
in her arms and hands as much as in her face. Not 
that she was overpowered by the great boots, formidable 
spurs, and other fierce appliances of his person, as he 
imagined; simply she had not been prepared to meet 
him there. 

' I hope you will, I am sure, for my own good,' said 
he, letting his eyes linger on the round of her cheek. 

Anne became a little more dignified, and her look 
showed reserve. But the yeoman on perceiving this 
went on talking to her in so civil a way that he irresistibly 
amused her, though she tried to conceal all feeling. At 
a brighter remark of his than usual her mouth moved, 
her upper lip playing uncertainly over her white teeth; 
it would stay still no, it would withdraw a little way 
in a smile; then it would flutter down again; and so 
it wavered like a butterfly in a tender desire to be pleased 
and smiling, and yet to be also sedate and composed; 
to show him that she did not want compliments, and 
yet that she was not so cold as to wish to repress any 
genuine feeling he might be anxious to utter. 

1 Shall you want any more reading, Mr. Derriman ? ' 
said she, interrupting the younger man in his remarks. 
' If not, I'll go homeward.' 

' Don't let me hinder you longer,' said Festus. ' I 
am off in a minute or two, when your man has cleaned 
my boots.' 


'Ye don't hinder us, nephew. She must have the 
paper : 'tis the day for her to have 'n. She might read 
a little more, as I have had so little profit out o' en 
hitherto. Well, why don't ye speak ? Will ye, or won't 
ye, my dear ? ' 

' Not to two,' she said. 

' Ho, ho ! damn it, I must go then, I suppose,' said 
Festus, laughing; and unable to get a further glance 
from her he left the room and clanked into the back 
yard, where he saw a man ; holding up his hand he cried, 
' Anthony Cripplestraw ! ' 

Cripplestraw came up in a trot, moved a lock of 
his hair and replaced it, and said, c Yes, Maister Derri- 
man.' He was old Mr. Derriman's odd hand in the 
yard and garden, and like his employer had no great 
pretensions to manly beauty, owing to a limpness of 
backbone and speciality of mouth, which opened on one 
side only, giving him a triangular smile. 

' Well, Cripplestraw, how is it to-day ? ' said Festus, 
with socially-superior heartiness. 

' Middlin', considering, Maister Derriman. And 
how's yerself ? ' 

' Fairish. Well, now, see and clean these military 
boots of mine. I'll cock my foot up on this bench. 
This pigsty of my uncle's is not fit for a soldier to come 

' Yes, Maister Derriman, I will. No, 'tis not fit, 
Maister Derriman.' 

1 What stock has uncle lost this year, Cripplestraw ? ' 

' Well, let's see, sir. I can call to mind that we've 
lost three chickens, a torn-pigeon, and a weakly sucking- 
pig, one of a fare of ten. I can't think of no more, 
Maister Derriman.' 

' H'm, not a large quantity of cattle. The old rascal ! ' 

' No, 'tis not a large quantity. Old what did you 
say, sir?' 

' O nothing. He's within there.' Festus flung his 


forehead in the direction of a right line towards the 
inner apartment. ' He's a regular sniche one.' 

' Hee, hee ; fie, fie, Master Derriman ! ' said Cripple- 
straw, shaking his head in delighted censure. ' Gentle- 
folks shouldn't talk so. And an officer, Mr. Derriman ! 
'Tis the duty of all cavalry gentlemen to bear in mind 
that their blood is a knowed thing in the country, and 
not to speak ill o't.' 

' He's close-fisted.' 

' Well, maister, he is I own he is a little. 'Tis the 
nater of some old venerable gentlemen to be so. We'll 
hope he'll treat ye well in yer fortune, sir.' 

' Hope he will. Do people talk about me here, 
Cripplestraw ? ' asked the yeoman, as the other con- 
tinued busy with his boots. 

' Well, yes, sir ; they do off and on, you know. They 
says you be as fine a piece of calvery flesh and bones as 
was ever growed on fallow-ground; in short, all owns 
that you be a fine fellow, sir. I wish I wasn't no more 
afraid of the French than you be; but being in the 
Locals, Maister Derriman, I assure ye I dream of having 
to defend my country every night ; and I don't like the 
dream at all.' 

'You should take it careless, Cripplestraw, as I do; 
and 'twould soon come natural to you not to mind it at 
all. Well, a fine fellow is not everything, you know. O 
no. There's as good as I in the army, and even better.' 

' And they say that when you fall this summer, you'll 
die like a man.' 

'When I fall?' 

'Yes, sure, Maister Derriman. Poor soul o' thee! 
I shan't forget 'ee as you lie mouldering in yer soldier's 

' Hey ? ' said the warrior uneasily. ' What makes 
'em think I am going to fall ? ' 

' Well, sir, by all accounts the yeomanry will be put in 



' Front ! That's what my uncle has been saying.' 

'Yes, and by all accounts 'tis true. And naterelly 
they'll be mowed down like grass ; and you among 'em, 
poor young galliant officer ! ' 

' Look here, Cripplestraw. This is a reg'lar foolish 
report. How can yeomanry be put in front ? Nobody's 
put in front. We yeomanry have nothing to do with 
Buonaparte's landing. We shall be away in a safe place, 
guarding the possessions and jewels. Now, can you 
see, Cripplestraw, any way at all that the yeomanry can 
be put in front ? Do you think they really can ? ' 

' Well, maister, I am afraid I do,' said the cheering 
Cripplestraw. < And I know a great warrior like you is 
only too glad o' the chance. 'Twill be a great thing for 
ye, death and glory ! In short, I hope from my heart 
you will be, and I say so very often to volk in fact, I 
pray at night for't' 

< O ! cuss you ! you needn't pray about it,' 

' No, Maister Derriman, I won't.' 

' Of course my sword will do its duty. That's 
enough. And now be off with ye.' 

Festus gloomily returned to his uncle's room and 
found that Anne was just leaving. He was inclined to 
follow her at once, but as she gave him no opportunity 
for doing this he went to the window, and remained 
tapping his fingers against the shutter while she crossed 
the yard. 

' Well, nephy, you are not gone yet ? ' said the farmer, 
looking dubiously at Festus from under one eyelid. 
'You see how I am. Not by any means better, you 
see ; so I can't entertain 'ee as well as I would.' 

' You can't, nunc, you can't. I don't think you are 
worse if I do, dash my wig. But you'll have plenty of 
opportunities to make me welcome when you are better. 
If you are not so brisk inwardly as you was, why not try 
change of air ? This is a dull, damp hole.' 

' 'Tis, Festus ; and I am thinking of moving.' 


' Ah, where to ? ' said Festus, with surprise and 

' Up into the garret in the north corner. There is 
no fireplace in the room ; but I shan't want that, poor 
soul o' me.' 

' Tis not moving far.' 

' 'Tis not. But I have not a soul belonging to me 
within ten mile; and you know very well that I couldn't 
afford to go to lodgings that I had to pay for.' 

' I know it I know it, Uncle Benjy ! Well, don't 
be disturbed. I'll come and manage for you as soon 
as ever this Boney alarm is over ; but when a man's 
country calls he must obey, if he is a man.' 

' A splendid spirit ! ' said Uncle Benjy, with much 
admiration on the surface of his countenance. ' I 
never had it. How could it have got into the boy ? ' 

' From my mother's side, perhaps.' 

' Perhaps so. Well, take care of yourself, nephy,' 
said the farmer, waving his hand impressively. c Take 
care ! In these warlike times your spirit may carry ye 
into the arms of the enemy ; and you are the last of 
the family. You should think of this, and not let your 
bravery carry ye away.' 

' Don't be disturbed, uncle ; I'll control myself,' said 
Festus, betrayed into self-complacency against his will. 
' At least I'll do what I can, but nature will out some- 
times. Well, I'm off.' He began humming ' Brighton 
Camp,' and, promising to come again soon, retired with 
assurance, each yard of his retreat adding private joyous- 
ness to his uncle's form. 

When the bulky young man had disappeared through 
the porter's lodge, Uncle Benjy showed preternatural 
activity for one in his invalid state, jumping up quickly 
without his stick, at the same time opening and shutting 
his mouth quite silently like a thirsty frog, which was 
his way of expressing mirth. He ran upstairs as quick 
as an old squirrel, and went to a dormer window which 


commanded a view of the grounds beyond the gate, 
and the footpath that stretched across them to the 

' Yes, yes ! ' he said in a suppressed scream, dancing 
up and down, ' he's after her : she've hit en ! ' For 
there appeared upon the path the figure of Anne Gar- 
land, and, hastening on at some little distance behind 
her, the swaggering shape of Festus. She became con- 
scious of his approach, and moved more quickly. He 
moved more quickly still, and overtook her. She turned 
as if in answer to a call from him, and he walked on 
beside her, till they were out of sight. The old man 
then played upon an imaginary fiddle for about half a 
minute; and, suddenly discontinuing these signs of 
pleasure, went downstairs again. 





V OU often come this way?' said Festus to Anne, 
rather before he had overtaken her. 

'I come for the newspaper and other things,' she 
said, perplexed by a doubt whether he were there by 
accident or design. 

They moved on in silence, Festus beating the grass 
with his switch in a masterful way. ' Did you speak, 
Mis'ess Anne ? ' he asked. 

' No,' said Anne. 

' Ten thousand pardons. I thought you did. Now 
don't let me drive you out of the path. I can walk 
among the high grass and giltycups they will not yellow 
my stockings as they will yours. Well, what do you 
think of a lot of soldiers coming to the neighbourhood 
in this way ? ' 

' I think it is very lively, and a great change,' she 
said with demure seriousness. 

' Perhaps you don't like us warriors as a body ? ' 

Anne smiled without replying. 

' Why, you are laughing ! ' said the yeoman, looking 
searchingly at her and blushing like a little fire. ' What 
do you see to laugh at ? ' 



' Did I laugh ? ' said Anne, a little scared at his 
sudden mortification. 

' Why, yes ; you know you did, you young sneerer,' 
he said like a cross baby. ' You are laughing at me 
that's who you are laughing at ! I should like to know 
what you would do without such as me if the French 
were to drop in upon ye any night ? ' 

' Would you help to beat them off ? ' said she. 

' Can you ask such a question ? What are we for ? 
But you don't think anything of soldiers.' 

O yes, she liked soldiers, she said, especially when 
they came home from the wars, covered with glory; 
though when she thought what doings had won them 
that glory she did not like them quite so well. The 
gallant and appeased yeoman said he supposed her to 
mean chopping off heads, blowing out brains, and that 
kind of business, and thought it quite right that a 
tender-hearted thing like her should feel a little horrified. 
But as for him, he should not mind such another 
Blenheim this summer as the army had fought a hundred 
years ago, or whenever it was dash his wig if he should 
mind it at all. ' Hullo ! now you are laughing again ; 
yes, I saw you ! ' And the choleric Festus turned his 
blue eyes and flushed face upon her as though he would 
read her through, Anne strove valiantly to look calmly 
back; but her eyes could not face his, and they fell 
' You did laugh ! ' he repeated. 

' It was only a tiny little one,' she murmured. 
' Ah I knew you did ! ' thundered he. ' Now what 
was it you laughed at ? ' 

'I only thought that you were merely in the 
yeomanry,' she murmured slily. 
' And what of that ? ' 

'And the yeomanry only seem farmers that have 
lost their senses.' 

' Yes, yes ! I knew you meant some jeering o' that 
sort, Mistress Anne. But I suppose 'tis the way of 



women, and I take no notice. I'll confess that some 
of us are no great things : but I know how to draw a 
sword, don't I ? say I don't just to provoke me.' 

' I am sure you do,' said Anne sweetly, ' If a 
Frenchman came up to you, Mr, Derriman, would you 
take him on the hip, or on the thigh ? ' 

' Now you are flattering ! ' he said, his white teeth 
uncovering themselves in a smile. ; Well, of course I 
should draw my sword no, I mean my sword would 
be already drawn ; and I should put spurs to my horse 
charger, as we call it in the army ; and I should ride 
up to him and say no, I shouldn't say anything, of 
course men never waste words in battle; I should 
take him with the third guard, low point, and then 
coming back to the second guard ' 

'But that would be taking care of yourself not 
hitting at him.' 

' How can you say that ! ' he cried, the beams upon 
his face turning to a lurid cloud in a moment. < How 
can you understand military terms who've never had a 
sword in your life? I shouldn't take him with the 
sword at all.' He went on with eager sulkiness, ' I 
should take him with my pistol. I should pull off my 
right glove, and throw back my goat-skin ; then I should 
open my priming-pan, prime, and cast about no, I 
shouldn't, that's wrong ; I should draw my right pistol, 
and as soon as loaded, seize the weapon by the butt ; 
then at the word " Cock your pistol " I should ' 

' Then there is plenty of time to give such words of 
command in the heat of battle ? ' said Anne innocently. 

' No ! ' said the yeoman, his face again in flames. 
' Why, of course I am only telling you what would be 
the word of command if- there now ! you la .' 

' I didn't ; 'pon my word I didn't ! ' 

'No, I don't think you did; it was my mistake. 
Well, then I come smartly to Present, looking well along 
the barrel along the barrel and fire. Of course I 


know well enough how to engage the enemy! But I 
expect my old uncle has been setting you against me.' 

' He has not said a word,' replied Anne ; ' though I 
have heard of you, of course.' 

' What have you heard ? Nothing good, I dare say. 
It makes my blood boil within me ! ' 

' O, nothing bad,' said she assuringly. ' Just a word 
now and then.' 

1 Now, come, tell me, there's a dear. I don't like to 
be crossed. It shall be a sacred secret between us. 
Come, now ! ' 

Anne was embarrassed, and her smile was uncom- 
fortable. ' I shall not tell you,' she said at last. 

' There it is again ! ' said the yeoman, throwing him- 
self into a despair. ' I shall soon begin to believe that 
my name is not worth sixpence about here ! ' 

'I tell you 'twas nothing against you,' repeated 

' That means it might have been for me,' said Festus, 
in a mollified tone. ' Well, though, to speak the truth, 
I have a good many faults, some people will praise me, 
I suppose. 'Twas praise ? ' 
' It was.' 

'Well, I am not much at farming, and I am not 
much in company, and I am not much at figures, but 
perhaps I must own, since it is forced upon me, that I 
can show as fine a soldier's figure on the Esplanade as 
any man of the cavalry.' 

' You can,' said Anne ; for though her flesh crept in 
mortal terror of his irascibility, she could not resist the 
fearful pleasure of leading him on. 'You look very 

well ; and some say, you are ' 

' What ? Well, they say I am good-looking. I don't 
make myself, so 'tis no praise. Hullo! what are you 
looking across there for ? ' 

' Only at a bird that I saw fly out of that tree,' said 



' What ? Only at a bird, do you say ? ' he heaved 
out in a voice of thunder. 'I see your shoulders a- 
shaking, young madam. Now don't you provoke me 
with that laughing ! By God, it won't do ! ' 

' Then go away ! ' said Anne, changed from mirthful- 
ness to irritation by his rough manner. ' I don't want 
your company, you great bragging thing ! You are so 
touchy there's no bearing with you. Go away ! ' 

' No, no, Anne ; I am wrong to speak to you so. I 
give you free liberty to say what you will to me. Say I 
am not a bit of a soldier, or anything ! Abuse me 
do now, there's a dear. I'm scum, I'm froth, I'm dirt 
before the besom yes ! ' 

' I have nothing to say, sir. Stay where you are till 
I am out of this field.' 

'Well, there's such command in your looks that I 
ha'n't heart to go against you. You will come this way 
to-morrow at the same time ? Now, don't be uncivil.' 

She was too generous not to forgive him, but the 
short little lip murmured that she did not think it at 
all likely she should come that way to-morrow. 

' Then Sunday ? ' he said. 

' Not Sunday,' said she. 

' Then Monday Tuesday Wednesday, surely ? ' he 
went on experimentally. 

She answered that she should probably not see him 
on either day, and, cutting short the argument, went 
through the wicket into the other field. Festus paused, 
looking after her ; and when he could no longer see 
her slight figure he swept away his deliberations, began 
singing, and turned off in the other direction. 




WHEN Anne was crossing the last field, she saw 
approaching her an old woman with wrinkled cheeks, 
who surveyed the earth and its inhabitants through the 
medium of brass-rimmed spectacles. Shaking her head 
at Anne till the glasses shone like two moons, she said, 
' Ah, ah ; I zeed ye ! If I had only kept on my short 
ones that I use for reading the Collect and Gospel I 
shouldn't have zeed ye ; but thinks I, I be going out o' 
doors, and I'll put on my long ones, little thinking what 
they'd show me. Ay, I can tell folk at any distance 
with these 'tis a beautiful pair for out o' doors ; though 
my short ones be best for close work, such as darning, 
and catching fleas, that's true.' 

' What have you seen, Granny Seamore ? ' said Anne. 

' Fie, fie, Miss Nancy ! you know,' said Granny Sea- 
more, shaking her head still. ' But he's a fine young 
feller, and will have all his uncle's money when 'a's 
gone.' Anne said nothing to this, and looking ahead 
with a smile passed Granny Seamore by. 

Festus, the subject of the remark, was at this time 
about three-and-twenty, a fine fellow as to feet and 
inches, and of a remarkably warm tone in skin and 



hair. Symptoms of beard and whiskers had appeared 
upon him at a very early age, owing to his persistent 
use of the razor before there was any necessity for its 
operation. The brave boy had scraped unseen in the 
out-house, in the cellar, in the wood-shed, in the stable, 
in the unused parlour, in the cow-stalls, in the barn, 
and wherever he could set up his triangular bit of 
looking-glass without observation, or extemporize a 
mirror by sticking up his hat on the outside of a window- 
pane. The result now was that, did he neglect to use 
the instrument he once had trifled with, a fine rust 
broke out upon his countenance on the first day, a 
golden lichen on the second, and a fiery stubble on 
the third to a degree which admitted of no further post- 

His disposition divided naturally into two, the boast- 
ful and the cantankerous. When Festus put on the 
big pot, as it is classically called, he was quite blinded 
ipso facto to the diverting effect of that mood and 
manner upon others ; but when disposed to be envious 
or quarrelsome he was rather shrewd than otherwise, 
and could do some pretty strokes of satire. He was 
both liked and abused by the girls who knew him, and 
though they were pleased by his attentions, they never 
failed to ridicule him behind his back. In his cups 
(he knew those vessels, though only twenty-three) he 
first became noisy, then excessively friendly, and then 
invariably nagging. During childhood he had made 
himself renowned for his pleasant habit of pouncing 
down upon boys smaller and poorer than himself, and 
knocking their birds' nests out of their hands, or over- 
turning their little Carts of apples, or pouring water 
down their backs; but his conduct became singularly 
the reverse of aggressive the moment the little boys' 
mothers ran out to him, brandishing brooms, frying- 
pans, skimmers, and whatever else they could lay hands 
on by way of weapons. He then fled and hid behind 



bushes, under faggots, or in pits till they had gone away ; 
and on one such occasion was known to creep into a 
badger's hole quite out of sight, maintaining that post 
with great firmness and resolution for two or three hours. 
He had brought more vulgar exclamations upon the 
tongues of respectable parents in his native parish than 
any other boy of his time. When other youngsters 
snowballed him he ran into a place of shelter, where 
he kneaded snowballs of his own, with a stone inside, 
and used these formidable missiles in returning their 
pleasantry. Sometimes he got fearfully beaten by boys 
his own age, when he would roar most lustily, but fight 
on in the midst of his tears, blood, and cries. 

He was early in love, and had at the time of the 
story suffered from the ravages of that passion thirteen 
distinct times. He could not love lightly and gaily; 
his love was earnest, cross-tempered, and even savage. 
It was a positive agony to him to be ridiculed by the 
object of his affections, and such conduct drove him 
into a frenzy if persisted in. He was a torment to those 
who behaved humbly towards him, cynical with those 
who denied his superiority, and a very nice fellow towards 
those who had the courage to ill-use him. 

This stalwart gentleman and Anne Garland did not 
cross each other's paths again for a week. Then her 
mother began as before about the newspaper, and, 
though Anne did not much like the errand, she agreed 
to go for it on Mrs. Garland pressing her with unusual 
anxiety. Why her mother was so persistent on so small 
a matter quite puzzled the girl ; but she put on her hat 
and started. 

As she had expected, Festus appeared at a stile over 
which she sometimes went for shortness' sake, and 
showed by his manner that he awaited her. When she 
saw this she kept straight on, as if she would not enter 
the park at all. 

' Surely this is your way ? ' said Festus. 


'I was thinking of going round by the road,' she 

' Why is that ? ' 

She paused, as if she were not inclined to say. ' I 
go that way when the grass is wet,' she returned at 

' It is not wet now,' he persisted ; ' the sun has been 
shining on it these nine hours.' The fact was that the 
way by the path was less open than by the road, and 
Festus wished to walk with her uninterrupted. ' But, 
of course, it is nothing to me what you do.' He flung 
himself from the stile and walked away towards the 

Anne, supposing him really indifferent, took the same 
way, upon which he turned his head and waited for her 
with a proud smile. 

' I cannot go with you,' she said decisively. 

' Nonsense, you foolish girl ! I must walk along with 
you down to the corner.' 

' No, please, Mr. Derriman ; we might be seen.' 

' Now, now that's shyness ! ' he said jocosely. 

' No ; you know I cannot let you.' 

' But I must.' 

' But I do not allow it.' 

' Allow it or not, I will.' 

' Then you are unkind, and I must submit,' she said, 
her eyes brimming with tears. 

' Ho, ho ; what a shame of me ! My wig, I won't 
do any such thing for the world,' said the repentant 
yeoman. ' Haw, haw ; why, I thought your " go away " 
meant " come on," as it does with so many of the women 
I meet, especially in these clothes. Who was to know 
you were so confoundedly serious ? ' 

As he did not go Anne stood still and said nothing. 

' I see you have a deal more caution and a deal less 
good-nature than I ever thought you had,' he continued 

65 E 


' No, sir ; it is not any planned manner of mine at 
all,' she said earnestly. ' But you will see, I am sure, 
that I could not go down to the hall with you without 
putting myself in a wrong light.' 

' Yes ; that's it, that's it. I am only a fellow in the 
yeomanry cavalry a plain soldier, I may say ; and we 
know what women think of such : that they are a bad 
lot men you mustn't speak to for fear of losing your 
character chaps you avoid in the roads chaps that 
come into a house like oxen, daub the stairs wi' their 
boots, stain the furniture wi' their drink, talk rubbish 
to the servants, abuse all that's holy and righteous, and 
are only saved from being carried off by Old Nick 
because they are wanted for Boney.' 

' Indeed, I didn't know you were thought so bad of 
as that,' said she simply. 

' What ! don't my uncle complain to you of me ? 
You are a favourite of that handsome, nice old gaffer's, 
I know.' 

' Never.' 

' Well, what do we think of our nice trumpet-major, 

Anne closed her mouth up tight, built it up, in fact, 
to show that no answer was coming to that question. 

' O now, come, seriously, Loveday is a good fellow, 
and so is his father.' 

' I don't know.' 

' What a close little rogue you are ! There is no 
getting anything out of you. I believe you would say 
' I don't know,' to every mortal question, so very dis- 
creet as you are. Upon my heart, there are some 
women who would say "I don't know," to "Will ye 
marry me ? " ' 

The brightness upon Anne's cheek and in her eyes 
during this remark showed that there was a fair quantity 
of life and warmth beneath the discretion he complained 
of. Having spoken thus, he drew aside that she might 



pass, and bowed very low. Anne formally inclined her- 
self and went on. 

* She had been at vexation point all the time that he 
was present, from a haunting sense that he would not 
have spoken to her so freely had she been a young 
woman with thriving male relatives to keep forward 
admirers in check. But she had been struck, now as at 
their previous meeting, with the power she possessed of 
working him up either to irritation or to complacency 
at will ; and this consciousness of being able to play 
upon him as upon an instrument disposed her to a 
humorous considerateness, and made her tolerate even 
while she rebuffed him. 

When Anne got to the hall the farmer, as usual, 
insisted upon her reading what he had been unable to get 
through, and held the paper tightly in his skinny hand 
till she had agreed. He sent her to a hard chair that she 
could not possibly injure to the extent of a pennyworth 
by sitting in it a twelvemonth, and watched her from the 
outer angle of his near eye while she bent over the paper. 
His look might have been suggested by the sight that 
he had witnessed from his window on the last occasion of 
her visit, for it partook of the nature of concern. The 
old man was afraid of his nephew, physically and morally, 
and he began to regard Anne as a fellow-sufferer under 
the same despot. After this sly and curious gaze at her 
he withdrew his eye again, so that when she casually 
lifted her own there was nothing visible but his keen 
bluish profile as before. 

When the reading was about half-way through, the 
door behind them opened, and footsteps crossed the 
threshold. The farmer diminished perceptibly in his 
chair, and looked fearful, but pretended to be absorbed 
in the reading, and quite unconscious of an intruder. 
Anne felt the presence of the swashing Festus, and 
stopped her reading. 

' Please go on, Miss Anne,' he said, ' I am not going 


to speak a word.' He withdrew to the mantelpiece and 
leaned against it at his ease. 

* Go on, do ye, maidy Anne,' said Uncle Benjy, keep- 
ing down his tremblings by a great effort to half their 
natural extent. 

Anne's voice became much lower now that there were 
two listeners, and her modesty shrank somewhat from 
exposing to Festus the appreciative modulations which 
an intelligent interest in the subject drew from her when 
unembarrassed. But she still went on that he might not 
suppose her to be disconcerted, though the ensuing ten 
minutes was one of disquietude. She knew that the 
bothering yeoman's eyes were travelling over her from his 
position behind, creeping over her shoulders, up to her 
head, and across her arms and hands. Old Benjy on his 
part knew the same thing, and after sundry endeavours 
to peep at his nephew from the corner of his eye, he 
could bear the situation no longer. 

' Do ye want to say anything to me, nephew ? ' he 

' No, uncle, thank ye,' said Festus heartily. ' I like 
to stay here, thinking of you and looking at your back 

The nervous old man writhed under this vivisection, 
and Anne read on ; till, to the relief of both, the gallant 
fellow grew tired of his amusement and went out of the 
room. Anne soon finished her paragraph and rose to 
go, determined never to come again as long as Festus 
haunted the precincts. Her face grew warmer as she 
thought that he would be sure to waylay her on her 
journey home to-day. 

On this account, when she left the house, instead of 
going in the customary direction, she bolted round to 
the further side, through the bushes, along under the 
kitchen-garden wall, and through a door leading into a 
rutted cart-track, which had been a pleasant gravelled 
drive when the fine old hall was in its prosperity. 



Once out of sight of the windows she ran with all her 
might till she had quitted the park by a route directly 
opposite to that towards her home. Why she was so 
seriously bent upon doing this she could hardly tell ; 
but the instinct to run was irresistible. 

It was necessary now to clamber over the down to 
the left of the camp, and make a complete circuit round 
the latter- infantry, cavalry, sutlers, and all descend- 
ing to her house on the other side. This tremendous 
walk she performed at a rapid rate, never once turning 
her head, and avoiding every beaten track to keep clear 
of the knots of soldiers taking a walk. When she at 
last got down to the levels again she paused to fetch 
breath, and murmured, 'Why did I take so much 
trouble? He would not, after all, have hurt me.' 

As she neared the mill an erect figure with a blue 
body and white thighs descended before her from the 
down towards the village, and went past the mill to a 
stile beyond, over which she usually returned to her 
house. Here he lingered. On coming nearer Anne 
discovered this person to be Trumpet-major Loveday ; 
and not wishing to meet anybody just now Anne passed 
quickly on, and entered the house by the garden door. 

' My dear Anne, what a time you have been gone ! ' 
said her mother. 

' Yes, I have been round by another road.' 

' Why did you do that ? ' 

Anne looked thoughtful and reticent, for her reason 
was almost too silly a one to confess. ' Well, I wanted 
to avoid a person who is very busy trying to meet me 
that's all,' she said. 

Her mother glanced out of the window. ' And there 
he is, I suppose,' she said, as John Loveday, tired of 
looking for Anne at the stile, passed the house on his 
way to his father's door. He could not help casting 
his eyes towards their window, and, seeing them, he 



Anne's reluctance to mention Festus was such that 
she did not correct her mother's error, and the dame 
went on : ' Well, you are quite right, my dear. Be 
friendly with him, but no more at present. I have 
heard of your other affair, and think it is a very wise 
choice. I am sure you have my best wishes in it, and 
I only hope it will come to a point.' 

' What's that ? ' said the astonished Anne. 

' You and Mr. Festus Derriman, dear. You need 
not mind me; I have known it for several days. Old 
Granny Seamore called here Saturday, and told me 
she saw him coming home with you across Park Close 
last week, when you went for the newspaper ; so I 
thought I'd send you again to-day, and give you another 

1 Then you didn't want the paper and it was only 
for that ! ' 

' He's a very fine young fellow ; he looks a thorough 
woman's protector.' 

' He may look it,' said Anne. 

' He has given up the freehold farm his father held 
at Pitstock, and lives in independence on what the land 
brings him. And when Farmer Derriman dies, he'll 
have all the old man's, for certain. He'll be worth ten 
thousand pounds, if a penny, in money, besides sixteen 
horses, cart and hack, a fifty-cow dairy, and at least five 
hundred sheep.' 

Anne turned away, and instead of informing her 
mother that she had been running like a doe to escape 
the interesting heir-presumptive alluded to, merely said, 
' Mother, I don't like this at all.' 





AFTER this, Anne would on no account walk in the 
direction of the hall for fear of another encounter with 
young Derriman. In the course of a few days it was 
told in the village that the old farmer had actually 
gone for a week's holiday and change of air to the 
Royal watering-place near at hand, at the instance of 
his nephew Festus. This was a wonderful thing to 
hear of Uncle Benjy, who had not slept outside the 
walls of Oxwell Hall for many a long year before; 
and Anne well imagined what extraordinary pressure 
must have been put upon him to induce him to take 
such a step. She pictured his unhappiness at the 
bustling watering-place, and hoped no harm would come 
to him. 

She spent much of her time indoors or in the 
garden, hearing little of the camp movements beyond the 
periodical Ta-ta-ta-taa of the trumpeters sounding their 
various ingenious calls for watch- setting, stables, feed, 
boot-and-saddle, parade, and so on, which made her 
think how clever her friend the trumpet-major must 
be to teach his pupils to play those pretty little tunes 
so well 


On the third morning after Uncle Benjy's departure, 
she was disturbed as usual while dressing by the tramp 
of the troops down the slope to the mill-pond, and 
during the now familiar stamping and splashing which 
followed there sounded upon the glass of the window 
a slight smack, which might have been caused by a 
whip or switch. She listened more particularly, and 
it was repeated. 

As John Loveday was the only dragoon likely to 
be aware that she slept in that particular apartment, 
she imagined the signal to come from him, though 
wondering that he should venture upon such a freak of 

Wrapping herself up in a red cloak, she went to the 
window, gently drew up a corner of the curtain, and 
peeped out, as she had done many times before. Nobody 
who was not quite close beneath her window could see 
her face ; but as it happened, somebody was close. The 
soldiers whose floundering Anne had heard were not 
Loveday's dragoons, but a troop of the York Hussars, 
quite oblivious of her existence. They had passed on 
out of the water, and instead of them there sat Festus 
Derriman alone on his horse, and in plain clothes, the 
water reaching up to the animal's belly, and Festus' heels 
elevated over the saddle to keep them out of the stream, 
which threatened to wash rider and horse into the deep 
mill-head just below. It was plainly he who had struck 
her lattice, for in a moment he looked up, and their eyes 
met. Festus laughed loudly, and slapped her window 
again; and just at that moment the dragoons began 
prancing down the slope in review order. She could not 
but wait a minute or two to see them pass. While doing 
so she was suddenly led to draw back, drop the corner of 
the curtain, and blush privately in her room. She had 
not only been seen by Festus Derriman, but by John 
Loveday, who, riding along with his trumpet slung up 
behind him, had looked over his shoulder at the pheno- 



menon of Derriman beneath Anne's bedroom window, 
and seemed quite astounded at the sight. 

She was quite vexed at the conjunction of incidents, 
and went no more to the window till the dragoons had 
ridden far away and she had heard Festus's horse labo- 
riously wade on to dry land. When she looked out there 
was nobody left but Miller Loveday, who usually stood 
in the garden at this time of the morning to say a word or 
two to the soldiers, of whom he already knew so many, 
and was in a fair way of knowing many more, from the 
liberality with which he handed round mugs of cheering 
liquor whenever parties of them walked that way. 

In the afternoon of this day Anne walked to a chris- 
tening party at a neighbour's in the adjoining parish of 
Springham, intending to walk home again before it got 
dark ; but there was a slight fall of rain towards evening, 
and she was pressed by the people of the house to stay 
over the night. With some hesitation she accepted their 
hospitality ; but at ten o'clock, when they were thinking 
of going to bed, they were startled by a smart rap at the 
door, and on it being unbolted a man's form was seen in 
the shadows outside. 

' Is Miss Garland here ? ' the visitor inquired, at 
which Anne suspended her breath. 

' Yes,' said Anne's entertainer, warily. 

' Her mother is very anxious to know what's become 
of her. She promised to come home.' To her great 
relief Anne recognized the voice as John Loveday's, and 
not Festus Derriman's. 

' Yes, I did, Mr. Loveday,' said she, coming forward; 
' but it rained, and I thought my mother would guess 
where I was.' 

Loveday said with diffidence that it had not rained 
anything to speak of at the camp, or at the mill, so that 
her mother was rather alarmed. 

' And she asked you to come for me ? ' Anne 



This was a question which the trumpet-major had 
been dreading during the whole of his walk thither. 
' Well, she didn't exactly ask me,' he said rather lamely, 
but still in a manner to show that Mrs. Garland had 
indirectly signified such to be her wish. In reality Mrs. 
Garland had not addressed him at all on the subject. 
She had merely spoken to his father on finding that her 
daughter did not return, and received an assurance from 
the miller that the precious girl was doubtless quite safe. 
John heard of this inquiry, and, having a pass that 
evening, resolved to relieve Mrs. Garland's mind on his 
own responsibility. Ever since his morning view of 
Festus under her window he had been on thorns of 
anxiety, and his thrilling hope now was that she would 
walk back with him. 

He shifted his foot nervously as he made the bold 
request. Anne felt at once that she would go. There 
was nobody in the world whose care she would more 
readily be under than the trumpet-major's in a case like 
the present. He was their nearest neighbour's son, and 
she had liked his single-minded ingenuousness from the 
first moment of his return home. 

When they had started on their walk, Anne said in a 
practical way, to show that there was no sentiment what- 
ever in her acceptance of his company, ' Mother was 
much alarmed about me, perhaps ? ' 

' Yes ; she was uneasy,' he said ; and then was com- 
pelled by conscience to make a clean breast of it. ' I 
know she was uneasy, because my father said so. But I 
did not see her myself. The truth is, she doesn't know 
I am come.' 

Anne now saw how the matter stood; but she was 
not offended with him. What woman could have been ? 
They walked on in silence, the respectful trumpet-major 
keeping a yard off on her right as precisely as if that 
measure had been fixed between them. She had a great 
feeling of civility toward him this evening, and spoke 



again. ' I often hear your trumpeters blowing the calls. 
They do it beautifully, I think.' 

c Pretty fair they might do better,' said he, as one 
too well-mannered to make much of an accomplishment 
in which he had a hand. 

' And you taught them how to do it ? ' 

' Yes, I taught them.' 

' It must require wonderful practice to get them into 
the way of beginning and finishing so exactly at one 
time. It is like one throat doing it all. How came you 
to be a trumpeter, Mr. Loveday ? ' 

' Well, I took to it naturally when I was a little boy,' 
said he, betrayed into quite a gushing state by her 
delightful interest. ' I used to make trumpets of paper, 
eldersticks, eltrot stems, and even stinging-nettle stalks, 
you know. Then father set me to keep the birds off 
that little barley-ground of his, and gave me an old horn 
to frighten 'em with. I learnt to blow that horn so that 
you could hear me for miles and miles. Then he bought 
me a clarionet, and when I could play that I borrowed 
a serpent, and I learned to play a tolerable bass. So 
when I 'listed I was picked out for training as trumpeter 
at once.' 

' Of course you were.' 

' Sometimes, however, I wish I had never joined the 
army. My father gave me a very fair education, and 
your father showed me how to draw horses on a slate, 
I mean. Yes, I ought to have done more than I have.' 

' What, did you know my father ? ' she asked with 
new interest. 

' O yes, for years. You were a little mite of a thing 
then ; and you used to cry when we big boys looked at 
you, and made pig's eyes at you, which we did some- 
times. Many and many a time have I stood by your 
poor father while he worked. Ah, you don't remember 
much about him ; but I do ! ' 

Anne remained thoughtful; and the moon broke 


from behind the clouds, lighting up the wet foliage with 
a twinkling brightness, and lending to each of the 
trumpet-major's buttons and spurs a little ray of its own. 
They had come to Oxwell park gate, and he said, ' Do 
you like going across, or round by the lane ? ' 

' We may as well go by the nearest road,' said 

They entered the park, following the half-obliterated 
drive till they came almost opposite the hall, when they 
entered a footpath leading on to the village. While 
hereabout they heard a shout, or chorus of exclamation, 
apparently from within the walls of the dark buildings 
near them. 

' What was that ? ' said Anne. 

' I don't know,' said her companion. ' I'll go and 

He went round the intervening swamp of watercress 
and brooklime which had once been the fish-pond, 
crossed by a culvert the trickling brook that still flowed 
that way, and advanced to the wall of the house. 
Boisterous noises were resounding from within, and he 
was tempted to go round the corner, where the low 
windows were, and look through a chink into the room 
whence the sounds proceeded. 

It was the room in which the owner dined tradition- 
ally called the great parlour and within it sat about a 
dozen young men of the yeomanry cavalry, one of them 
being Festus. They were drinking, laughing, singing, 
thumping their fists on the tables, and enjoying them- 
selves in the very perfection of confusion. The candles, 
blown by the breeze from the partly opened window, had 
guttered into coffin handles and shrouds, and, choked 
by their long black wicks for want of snuffing, gave out 
a smoky yellow light. One of the young men might 
possibly have been in a maudlin state, for he had his 
arm round the neck of his next neighbour. Another 
was making an incoherent speech to which nobody was 



listening. Some of their faces were red, some were 
sallow ; some were sleepy, some wide awake. The only 
one among them who appeared in his usual frame of 
mind was Festus, whose huge, burly form rose at the 
head of the table, enjoying with a serene and triumphant 
aspect the difference between his own condition and that 
of his neighbours. While the trumpet-major looked, a 
young woman, niece of Anthony Cripplestraw, and one 
of Uncle Benjy's servants, was called in by one of the 
crew, and much against her will a fiddle was placed in 
her hands, from which they made her produce discordant 

The absence of Uncle Benjy had, in fact, been con- 
trived by young Derriman that he might make use of the 
hall on his own account. Cripplestraw had been left in 
charge, and Festus had found no difficulty in forcing 
from that dependent the keys of whatever he required. 
John Loveday turned his eyes from the scene to the 
neighbouring moonlit path, where Anne still stood wait- 
ing. Then he looked into the room, then at Anne again. 
It was an opportunity of advancing his own cause with 
her by exposing Festus, for whom he began to entertain 
hostile feelings of no mean force. 

' No ; I can't do it,' he said. ' 'Tis underhand. Let 
things take their chance.' 

He moved away, and then perceived that Anne, 
tired of waiting, had crossed the stream, and almost 
come up with him. 

' What is the noise about ? ' she said. 

' There's company in the house,' said Loveday. 

' Company ? Farmer Derriman is not at home,' 
said Anne, and went on to the window whence the rays 
of light leaked out, the trumpet-major standing where 
he was. He saw her face enter the beam of candle- 
light, stay there for a moment, and quickly withdraw. 
She came back to him at once. ' Let us go on,' she 



Loveday imagined from her tone that she must have 
an interest in Derriman, and said sadly, ' You blame 
me for going across to the window, and leading you 
to follow me.' 

' Not a bit,' said Anne, seeing his mistake as to the 
state of her heart, and being rather angry with him 
for it. ' I think it was most natural, considering the 

Silence again. ' Derriman is sober as a judge,' said 
Loveday, as they turned to go. ' It was only the others 
who were noisy.' 

' Whether he is sober or not is nothing whatever to 
me,' said Anne. 

' Of course not. I know it,' said the trumpet- major, 
in accents expressing unhappiness at her somewhat curt 
tone, and some doubt of her assurance. 

Before they had emerged from the shadow of the hall 
some persons were seen moving along the road. Love- 
day was for going on just the same; but Anne, from 
a shy feeling that it was as well not to be seen walking 
alone with a man who was not her lover, said 

' Mr. Loveday, let us wait here a minute till they 
have passed.' 

On nearer view the group was seen to comprise a 
man on a piebald horse, and another man walking 
beside him. When they were opposite the house they 
halted, and the rider dismounted, whereupon a dispute 
between him and the other man ensued, apparently on 
a question of money. 

' 'Tis old Mr. Derriman come home ! ' said Anne. 
' He has hired that horse from the bathing-machine to 
bring him. Only fancy ! ' 

Before they had gone many steps further the farmer 
and his companion had ended their dispute, and the 
latter mounted the horse and cantered away, Uncle 
Benjy coming on to the house at a nimble pace. As 
soon as he observed Loveday and Anne, he fell into 


a feebler gait ; when they came up he recognized 

' And you have torn yourself away from King George's 
Esplanade so soon, Farmer Derriman ? ' said she. 

' Yes, faith ! I couldn't bide at such a ruination 
place,' said the farmer. ' Your hand in your pocket 
every minute of the day. 'Tis a shilling for this, half- 
a-crown for that; if you only eat one egg, or even a 
poor windfall of an apple, you've got to pay; and a 
bunch o' radishes is a halfpenny, and a quart o' cider 
a good tuppence three-farthings at lowest reckoning. 
Nothing without paying ! I couldn't even get a ride 
homeward upon that screw without the man wanting 
a shilling for it, when my weight didn't take a penny 
out of the beast. I've saved a penn'orth or so of shoe- 
leather to be sure; but the saddle was so rough wi' 
patches that 'a took twopence out of the seat of my 
best breeches. King George hev' ruined the town for 
other folks. More than that, my nephew promised to 
come there to-morrow to see me, and if I had stayed 
I must have treated en. Hey what's that ? ' 

It was a shout from within the walls of the building, 
and Loveday said 

' Your nephew is here, and has company.' 

' My nephew here ? ' gasped the old man. ' Good 
folks, will you come up to the door with me ? I mean 
hee hee just for company ! Dear me, I thought 
my house was as quiet as a church ! ' 

They went back to the window, and the farmer looked 
in, his mouth falling apart to a greater width at the 
corners than in the middle, and his fingers assuming a 
state of radiation. 

' 'Tis my best silver tankards they've got, that I've 
never used ! O, 'tis my strong beer ! 'Tis eight 
candles guttering away, when I've used nothing but 
twenties myself for the last half-year 1 ' 

' You didn't know he was here, then ? ' said Loveday. 


O no ! ' said the farmer, shaking his head half- 
way. ' Nothing's known to poor I ! There's my best 
rummers jingling as careless as if 'twas tin cups ; and 
my table scratched, and my chairs wrenched out of 
joint. See how they tilt 'em on the two back legs 
and that's ruin to a chair ! Ah ! when I be gone he 
won't find another old man to make such work with, 
and provide goods for his breaking, and house-room and 
drink for his tear-brass set ! ' 

'Comrades and fellow-soldiers,' said Festus to the 
hot farmers and yeomen he entertained within, ' as we 
have vowed to brave danger and death together, so we'll 
share the couch of peace. You shall sleep here to-night, 
for it is getting late. My scram blue-vinnied gallicrow 
of an uncle takes care that there shan't be much comfort 
in the house, but you can curl up on the furniture if 
beds run short. As for my sleep, it won't be much. 
I'm melancholy ! A woman has, I may say, got my 
heart in her pocket, and I have hers in mine. She's 
not much to other folk, I mean but she is to me. 
The little thing came in my way, and conquered me. 
I fancy that simple girl ! I ought to have looked higher 
I know it; what of that? 'Tis a fate that may 
happen to the greatest men.' 

' Whash her name ? ' said one of the warriors, whose 
head occasionally drooped upon his epaulettes, and 
whose eyes fell together in the casual manner charac- 
teristic of the tired soldier. (It was really Farmer Stubb, 
of Duddle Hole.) 

' Her name ? Well, 'tis spelt, A, N but, by gad, 
I won't give ye her name here in company. She don't 
live a hundred miles off, however, and she wears the 
prettiest cap-ribbons you ever saw. Well, well; 'tis 
weakness ! She has little, and I have much ; but I do 
adore that girl, in spite of myself ! ' 

' Let's go on,' said Anne. 

' Prithee stand by an old man till he's got into his 


house ! ' implored Uncle Benjy. ' I only ask ye to bide 
within call. Stand back under the trees, and I'll do my 
poor best to give no trouble.' 

' I'll stand by you for half-an-hour, sir,' said Loveday. 
' After that I must bolt to camp.' 

' Very well ; bide back there under the trees,' said 
Uncle Benjy. ' I don't want to spite 'em ! ' 

1 You'll wait a few minutes, just to see if he gets in ? ' 
said the trumpet-major to Anne as they retired from the 
old man. 

' I want to get home,' said Anne anxiously. 

When they had quite receded behind the tree-trunks 
and he stood alone, Uncle Benjy, to their surprise, set up 
a loud shout, altogether beyond the imagined power of 
his lungs. 

' Man a-lost ! man a-lost ! ' he cried, repeating the 
exclamation several times ; and then ran and hid himself 
behind a corner of the building. Soon the door opened, 
and Festus and his guests came tumbling out upon the 

' 'Tis our duty to help folks in distress,' said Festus. 
' Man a-lost, where are you ? ' 

' 'Twas across there,' said one of his friends. 

' No ; 'twas here,' said another. 

Meanwhile Uncle Benjy, coming from his hiding-place, 
had scampered with the quickness of a boy up to the 
door they had quitted, and slipped in. In a moment 
the door flew together, and Anne heard him bolting and 
barring it inside. The revellers, however, did not notice 
this, and came on towards the spot where the trumpet- 
major and Anne were standing. 

' Here's succour at hand, friends,' said Festus. ' We 
are all king's men ; do not fear us.' 

' Thank you/ said Loveday ; ' so are we.' He ex- 
plained in two words that they were not the distressed 
traveller who had cried out, and turned to go on. 

' 'Tis she ! my life, 'tis she ! ' said Festus, now first 
81 F 


recognizing Anne. ' Fair Anne, I will not part from you 
till I see you safe at your own dear door.' 

' She's in my hands,' said Loveday civilly, though not 
without firmness, ' so it is not required, thank you.' 

' Man, had I but my sword ' 

' Come,' said Loveday, ' I don't want to quarrel. 
Let's put it to her. Whichever of us she likes best, 
he shall take her home. Miss Anne, which ? ' 

Anne would much rather have gone home alone, but 
seeing the remainder of the yeomanry party staggering up 
she thought it best to secure a protector of some kind. 
How to choose one without offending the other and 
provoking a quarrel was the difficulty. 

' You must both walk home with me,' she adroitly 
said, ' one on one side, and one on the other. And if 
you are not quite civil to one another all the time, I'll 
never speak to either of you again.' 

They agreed to the terms, and the other yeomen 
arriving at this time said they would go also as rear- 

' Very well,' said Anne. ' Now go and get your hats, 
and don't be long.' 

' Ah, yes ; our hats,' said the yeomanry, whose heads 
were so hot that they had forgotten their nakedness 
till then. 

' You'll wait till we've got 'em we won't be a mo- 
ment,' said Festus eagerly. 

Anne and Loveday said yes, and Festus ran back to 
the house, followed by all his band. 

'Now let's run and leave 'em,' said Anne, when 
they were out of hearing. 

' But we've promised to wait ! ' said the trumpet- 
major in surprise. 

' Promised to wait ! ' said Anne indignantly. ' As if 
one ought to keep such a promise to drunken men as 
that. You can do as you like, I shall go.' 

' It is hardly fair to leave the chaps,' said Loveday 


reluctantly, and looking back at them. But she heard 
no more, and flitting off under the trees, was soon lost 
to his sight. 

Festus and the rest had by this time reached Uncle 
Benjy's door, which they were discomfited and astonished 
to find closed. They began to knock, and then to kick 
at the venerable timber, till the old man's head, crowned 
with a tasselled nightcap, appeared at an upper window, 
followed by his shoulders, with apparently nothing on 
but his shirt, though it was in truth a sheet thrown over 
his coat. 

' Fie, fie upon ye all for making such a hullaballoo at 
a weak old man's door,' he said, yawning. ' What's in 
ye to rouse honest folks at this time o' night ? ' 

' Hang me why it's Uncle Benjy ! Haw-haw- 
haw ! ' said Festus. ' Nunc, why how the devil's this ? 
'Tis I Festus wanting to come in.' 

' O no, no, my clever man, whoever you be ! ' said 
Uncle Benjy in a tone of incredulous integrity. ' My 
nephew, dear boy, is miles away at quarters, and sound 
asleep by this time, as becomes a good soldier. That 
story won't do to-night, my man, not at all.' 

' Upon my soul 'tis I,' said Festus. 

' Not to-night, my man ; not to-night ! Anthony, 
bring my blunderbuss,' said the farmer, turning and 
addressing nobody inside the room. 

' Let's break in the window-shutters,' said one of the 

' My wig, and we will ! ' said Festus. ' What a trick 
of the old man ! ' 

' Get some big stones,' said the yeomen, searching 
under the wall. 

' No ; forbear, forbear,' said Festus, beginning to be 
frightened at the spirit he had raised. ' I forget ; we 
should drive him into fits, for he's subject to 'em, and 
then perhaps 'twould be manslaughter. Comrades, we 
must march ! No, we'll lie in the barn. I'll see into 


this, take my word for 't. Our honour is at stake. 
Now let's back to see my beauty home.' 

' We can't, as we hav'n't got our hats,' said one of 
his fellow-troopers in domestic life Jacob Noakes, of 
Muckleford Farm. 

' No more we can,' said Festus, in a melancholy 
tone. ' But I must go to her and tell her the reason. 
She pulls me in spite of all.' 

'She's gone. I saw her flee across park while we 
were knocking at the door,' said another of the yeo- 

c Gone ! ' said Festus, grinding his teeth and putting 
himself into a rigid shape. ' Then 'tis my enemy he 
has tempted her away with him ! But I am a rich man, 
and he's poor, and rides the King's horse while I ride 
my own. Could I but find that fellow, that regular, 
that common man, I would ' 

' Yes ? ' said the trumpet-major, coming up behind 

' I,' said Festus, starting round, ' I would seize 
him by the hand and say, " Guard her ; if you are my 
friend, guard her from all harm ! " ' 

'A good speech. And I will, too,' said Loveday 

' And now for shelter,' said Festus to his companions. 

They then unceremoniously left Loveday, without 
wishing him good-night, and proceeded towards the 
barn. He crossed the park and ascended the down 
to the camp, grieved that he had given Anne cause 
of complaint, and fancying that she held him of slight 
account beside his wealthier rival. 




ANNE was so flurried by the military incidents at- 
tending her return home that she was almost afraid to 
venture alone outside her mother's premises. More- 
over, the numerous soldiers, regular and otherwise, that 
haunted Overcombe and its neighbourhood, were getting 
better acquainted with the villagers, and the result was 
that they were always standing at garden gates, walking 
in the orchards, or sitting gossiping just within cottage 
doors, with the bowls of their tobacco-pipes thrust out- 
side for politeness' sake, that they might not defile the 
air of the household. Being gentlemen of a gallant and 
most affectionate nature, they naturally turned their 
heads and smiled if a pretty girl passed by, which was 
rather disconcerting to the latter if she were unused 
to society. Every belle in the village soon had a lover, 
and when the belles were all allotted those who scarcely 
deserved that title had their turn, many of the soldiers 
being not at all particular about half-an-inch of nose 
more or less, a trifling deficiency of teeth, or a larger 
crop of freckles than is customary in the Saxon race. 
Thus, with one and another, courtship began to be 
practised in Overcombe on rather a large scale, and the 


dispossessed young men who had been born in the place 
were left to take their walks alone, where, instead of 
studying the works of nature, they meditated gross out- 
rages on the brave men who had been so good as to 
visit their village. 

Anne watched these romantic proceedings from her 
window with much interest, and when she saw how 
triumphantly other handsome girls of the neighbourhood 
walked by on the gorgeous arms of Lieutenant Knock- 
heelmann, Cornet Flitzenhart, and Captain Klaspen- 
kissen, of the thrilling York Hussars, who swore the 
most picturesque foreign oaths, and had a wonderful 
sort of estate or property called the Vaterland in their 
country across the sea, she was filled with a sense of her 
own loneliness. It made her think of things which she 
tried to forget, and to look into a little drawer at some- 
thing soft and brown that lay in a curl there, wrapped 
in paper. At last she could bear it no longer, and went 

' Where are you going ? ' said Mrs. Garland. 

' To see the folks, because I am so gloomy ! ' 

' Certainly not at present, Anne.' 

' Why not, mother ? ' said Anne, blushing with an 
indefinite sense of being very wicked. 

' Because you must not. I have been going to tell 
you several times not to go into the street at this time of 
day. Why not walk in the morning? There's young 
Mr. Derriman would be glad to ' 

1 Don't mention him, mother, don't ! ' 

' Well then, dear, walk in the garden.' 

So poor Anne, who really had not the slightest wish 
to throw her heart away upon a soldier, but merely 
wanted to displace old thoughts by new, turned into the 
inner garden from day to day, and passed a good many 
hours there, the pleasant birds singing to her, and the 
delightful butterflies alighting on her hat, and the horrid 
ants running up her stockings. 


This garden was undivided from Loveday's, the two 
having originally been the single garden of the whole 
house. It was a quaint old place, enclosed by a thorn 
hedge so shapely and dense from incessant clipping that 
the mill-boy could walk along the top without sinking 
in a feat which he often performed as a means of filling 
out his day's work. The soil within was of that intense 
fat blackness which is only seen after a century of con- 
stant cultivation. The paths were grassed over, so that 
people came and went upon them without being heard. 
The grass harboured slugs, and on this account the 
miller was going to replace it by gravel as soon as he had 
time ; but as he had said this for thirty years without 
doing it, the grass and the slugs seemed likely to remain. 

The miller's man attended to Mrs. Garland's piece 
of the garden as well as to the larger portion, digging, 
planting, and weeding indifferently in both, the miller 
observing with reason that it was not worth while for a 
helpless widow lady to hire a man for her little plot 
when his man, working alongside, could tend it without 
much addition to his labour. The two households were 
on this account even more closely united in the garden 
than within the mill. Out there they were almost one 
family, and they talked from plot to plot with a zest 
and animation which Mrs. Garland could never have 
anticipated when she first removed thither after her 
husband's death. 

The lower half of the garden, farthest from the road, 
was the most snug and sheltered part of this snug and 
sheltered enclosure, and it was well watered as the land 
of Lot. Three small brooks, about a yard wide, ran 
with a tinkling sound from side to side between the 
plots, crossing the path under wood slabs laid as 
bridges, and passing out of the garden through little 
tunnels in the hedge. The brooks were so far over- 
hung at their brinks by grass and garden produce that, 
had it not been for their perpetual babbling, few would 


have noticed that they were there. This was where 
Anne liked best to linger when her excursions became 
restricted to her own premises; and in a spot of the 
garden not far removed the trumpet-major loved to 
linger also. 

Having by virtue of his office no stable duty to per- 
form, he came down from the camp to the mill almost 
every day ; and Anne, finding that he adroitly walked 
and sat in his father's portion of the garden whenever 
she did so in the other half, could not help smiling and 
speaking to him. So his epaulettes and blue jacket, 
and Anne's yellow gipsy hat, were often seen in dif- 
ferent parts of the garden at the same time; but he 
never intruded into her part of the enclosure, nor did 
she into Loveday's. She always spoke to him when 
she saw him there, and he replied in deep, firm accents 
across the gooseberry bushes, or through the tall rows 
of flowering peas, as the case might be. He thus gave 
her accounts at fifteen paces of his experiences in 
camp, in quarters, in Flanders, and elsewhere; of the 
difference between line and column, of forced marches, 
billeting, and such-like, together with his hopes of pro- 
motion. Anne listened at first indifferently ; but know- 
ing no one else so good-natured and experienced, she 
grew interested in him as in a brother. By degrees his 
gold lace; buckles, and spurs lost all their strangeness 
and were as familiar to her as her own clothes. 

At last Mrs. Garland noticed this growing friend- 
ship, and began to despair of her motherly scheme of 
uniting Anne to the moneyed Festus. Why she could 
not take prompt steps to check interference with her 
plans arose partly from her nature, which was the re- 
verse of managing, and partly from a new emotional 
circumstance with which she found it difficult to reckon. 
The near neighbourhood that had produced the friend- 
ship of Anne for John Loveday was slowly effecting a 
warmer liking between her mother and his father. 


fc . Thus the month of July passed. The troop horses 
came with the regularity of clockwork twice a day down 
to drink under her window, and, as the weather grew 
hotter, kicked up their heels and shook their heads 
furiously under the maddening sting of the dun-fly. 
The green leaves in the garden became of a darker 
dye, the gooseberries ripened, and the three brooks 
were reduced to half their winter volume. 

At length the earnest trumpet-major obtained Mrs. 
Garland's consent to take her and her daughter to the 
camp, which they had not yet viewed from any closer 
point than their own windows. So one afternoon they 
went, the miller being one of the party. The villagers 
were by this time driving a roaring trade with the 
soldiers, who purchased of them every description of 
garden produce, milk, butter, and eggs at liberal prices. 
The figures of these rural sutlers could be seen creeping 
up the slopes, laden like bees, to a spot in the rear of 
the camp, where there was a kind of market-place on 
the greensward. 

Mrs. Garland, Anne, and the miller were conducted 
from one place to another, and on to the quarter where 
the soldiers' wives lived who had not been able to get 
lodgings in the cottages near. The most sheltered place 
had been chosen for them, and snug huts had been 
built for their use by their husbands, of clods, hurdles, a 
little thatch, or whatever they could lay hands on. The 
trumpet-major conducted his friends thence to the large 
barn which had been appropriated as a hospital, and to 
the cottage with its windows bricked up, that was used 
as the magazine; then they inspected the lines of 
shining dark horses (each representing the then high 
figure of two-and-twenty guineas purchase money), stand- 
ing patiently at the ropes which stretched from one 
picket-post to another, a bank being thrown up in front 
of them as a protection at night. 

They passed on to the tents of the German Legion, 


a well-grown and rather dandy set of men, with a 
poetical look about their faces which rendered them 
interesting to feminine eyes. Hanoverians, Saxons, 
Prussians, Swedes, Hungarians, and other foreigners 
were numbered in their ranks. They were cleaning 
arms, which they leant carefully against a rail when the 
work was complete. 

On their return they passed the mess-house, a 
temporary wooden building with a brick chimney. As 
Anne and her companions went by, a group of three or 
four of the hussars were standing at the door talking 
to a dashing young man, who was expatiating on the 
qualities of a horse that one was inclined to buy. Anne 
recognized Festus Derriman in the seller, and Cripple- 
straw was trotting the animal up and down. As soon 
as she caught the yeoman's eye he came forward, making 
some friendly remark to the miller, and then turning to 
Miss Garland, who kept her eyes steadily fixed on the 
distant landscape till he got so near that it was impos- 
sible to do so longer. Festus looked from Anne to 
the trumpet- major, and from the trumpet-major back 
to Anne, with a dark expression of face, as if he sus- 
pected that there might be a tender understanding 
between them. 

' Are you offended with me ? ' he said to her in a low 
voice of repressed resentment. 

' No,' said Anne. 

' When are you coming to the hall again ? ' 

' Never, perhaps. 7 

' Nonsense, Anne,' said Mrs. Garland, who had come 
near, and smiled pleasantly on Festus. ' You can go 
at any time, as usual.' 

' Let her come with me now, Mrs. Garland ; I should 
be pleased to walk along with her. My man can lead 
home the horse.' 

' Thank you, but I shall not come,' said Miss Anne 



The widow looked unhappily in her daughter's face, 
distressed between her desire that Anne should en- 
courage Festus, and her wish to consult Anne's own 

' Leave her alone, leave her alone,' said Festus, his 
gaze blackening. ' Now I think of it I am glad she 
can't come with me, for I am engaged ; ' and he stalked 

Anne moved on with her mother, young Loveday 
silently following, and they began to descend the hill. 

' Well, where's Mr. Loveday ? ' asked Mrs. Garland. 

' Father's behind,' said John. 

Mrs. Garland looked behind her solicitously ; and the 
miller, who had been waiting for the event, beckoned 
to her. 

' I'll overtake you in a minute,' she said to the younger 
pair, and went back, her colour, for some unaccountable 
reason, rising as she did so. The miller and she then 
came on slowly together, conversing in very low tones, 
and when they got to the bottom they stood still. Love- 
day and Anne waited for them, saying but little to each 
other, for the rencounter with Festus had damped the 
spirits of both. At last the widow's private talk with 
Miller Loveday came to an end, and she hastened on- 
ward, the miller going in another direction to meet a 
man on business. When she reached the trumpet-major 
and Anne she was looking very bright and rather flurried, 
and seemed sorry when Loveday said that he must leave 
them and return to the camp. They parted in their 
usual friendly manner, and Anne and her mother were 
left to walk the few remaining yards alone. 

' There, I've settled it,' said Mrs. Garland. ' Anne, 
what are you thinking about? I have settled in my 
mind that it is all right.' 

' What's all right ? ' said Anne. 

' That you do not care for Derriman, and mean to 
encourage John Loveday. What's all the world so long 
9 1 


as folks are happy ! Child, don't take any notice of 
what I have said about Festus, and don't meet him any 

' What a weathercock you are, mother ! Why should 
you say that just now ? ' 

' It is easy to call me a weathercock,' said the matron, 
putting on the look of a good woman ; ' but I have 
reasoned it out, and at last, thank God, I have got over 
my ambition. The Lovedays are our true and only 
friends, and Mr. Festus Derriman, with all his money, is 
nothing to us at all.' 

' But,' said Anne, ' what has made you change all of 
a sudden from what you have said before ? ' 

' My feelings and my reason, which I am thankful 

Anne knew that her mother's sentiments were natu- 
rally so versatile that they could not be depended on for 
two days together ; but it did not occur to her for the 
moment that a change had been helped on in the present 
case by a romantic talk between Mrs. Garland and the 
miller. But Mrs. Garland could not keep the secret 
long. She chatted gaily as she walked, and before they 
had entered the house she said, ' What do you think Mr. 
Loveday has been saying to me, dear Anne ? ' 

Anne did not know at all. 

' Why, he has asked me to marry him.' 





I O explain the miller's sudden proposal it is only 
necessary to go back to that moment when Anne, Festus, 
and Mrs. Garland were talking together on the down. 
John Loveday had fallen behind so as not to interfere 
with a meeting in which he was decidedly superfluous ; 
and his father, who guessed the trumpet-major's secret, 
watched his face as he stood. John's face was sad, and 
his eyes followed Mrs. Garland's encouraging manner to 
Festus in a way which plainly said that every parting of 
her lips was tribulation to him. The miller loved his son 
as much as any miller or private gentleman could do, 
and he was pained to see John's gloom at such a trivial 
circumstance. So what did he resolve but to help John 
there and then by precipitating a matter which, had he 
himself been the only person concerned, he would have 
delayed for another six months. 

He had long liked the society of his impulsive, trac- 
table neighbour, Mrs. Garland; had mentally taken 
her up and pondered her in connexion with the ques- 
tion whether it would not be for the happiness of 
both if she were to share his home, even though she 
was a little his superior in antecedents and knowledge. 



In fact he loved her; not tragically, but to a very 
creditable extent for his years ; that is, next to his sons, 
Bob and John, though he knew very well of that 
ploughed-ground appearance near the corners of her 
once handsome eyes, and that the little depression in 
her right cheek was not the lingering dimple it was 
poetically assumed to be, but a result of the abstraction 
of some worn-out nether millstones within the cheek 
by Rootle, the Budmouth man, who lived by such 
practices on the heads of the elderly. But what of that, 
when he had lost two to each one of hers, and exceeded 
her in age by some eight years ! To do John a service, 
then, he quickened his designs, and put the question 
to her while they were standing under the eyes of the 
younger pair. 

Mrs. Garland, though she had been interested in the 
miller for a long time, and had for a moment now and 
then thought on this question as far as, ' Suppose he 
should,' ' If he were to,' and so on, had never thought 
much further ; and she was really taken by surprise when 
the question came. She answered without affectation that 
she would think over the proposal ; and thus they parted. 

Her mother's infirmity of purpose set Anne thinking, 
and she was suddenly filled with a conviction that in 
such a case she ought to have some purpose herself. 
Mrs. Garland's complacency at the miller's offer had, in 
truth, amazed her. While her mother had held up her 
head, and recommended Festus, it had seemed a very 
pretty thing to rebel ; but the pressure being removed an 
awful sense of her own responsibility took possession of 
her mind. As there was no longer anybody to be wise 
or ambitious for her, surely she should be wise and 
ambitious for herself, discountenance her mother's 
attachment, and "encourage Festus in his addresses, for 
her own and her mother's good. There had been a 
time when a Loveday thrilled her own heart ; but that 
was long ago, before she had thought of position or 



differences. To wake into cold daylight like this, when 
and because her mother had gone into the land of 
romance, was dreadful and new to her, and like an 
increase of years without living them. 

But it was easier to think that she ought to marry 
the yeoman than to take steps for doing it; and she 
went on living just as before, only with a little more 
thoughtfulness in her eyes. 

Two days after the visit to the camp, when she was 
again in the garden, Soldier Loveday said to her, at a 
distance of five rows of beans and a parsley-bed 

' You have heard the news, Miss Garland ? ' 

' No,' said Anne, without looking up from a book 
she was reading. 

' The King is coming to-morrow.' 

' The King ? ' She looked up then. 

' Yes ; to Gloucester Lodge ; and he will pass this 
way. He can't arrive till long past the middle of the 
night, if what they say is true, that he is timed to change 
horses at Woodyates Inn between Mid and South 
Wessex at twelve o'clock,' continued Loveday, encour- 
aged by her interest to cut off the parsley-bed from the 
distance between them. 

Miller Loveday came round the corner of the house. 

' Have ye heard about the King coming, Miss Maidy 
Anne ? ' he said. 

Anne said that she had just heard of it; and the 
trumpet-major, who hardly welcomed his father at such 
a moment, explained what he knew of the matter. 

' And you will go with your regiment to meet 'en, I 
suppose ? ' said old Loveday. 

Young Loveday said that the men of the German 
Legion were to perform that duty. And turning half 
from his father, and half towards Anne, he added, in a 
tentative tone, that he thought he might get leave for 
the night, if anybody would like to be taken to the top 
of the Ridgeway over which the royal party must pass. 



Anne, knowing by this time of the budding hope in 
the gallant dragoon's mind, and not wishing to encour- 
age it, said, ' I don't want to go.' 

The miller looked disappointed as well as John. 

' Your mother might like to ! ' 

' Yes, I am going indoors, and I'll ask her if you 
wish me to,' said she. 

She went indoors and rather coldly told her mother 
of the proposal. Mrs. Garland, though she had deter- 
mined not to answer the miller's question on matrimony 
just yet, was quite ready for this jaunt, and in spite of 
Anne she sailed off at once to the garden to hear more 
about it. When she re-entered, she said 

' Anne, I have not seen the King or the King's 
horses for these many years ; and I am going.' 

' Ah, it is well to be you, mother,' said Anne, in an 
elderly tone. 

' Then you won't come with us ? ' said Mrs. Garland, 
rather rebuffed. 

' I have very different things to think of,' said her 
daughter with virtuous emphasis, ' than going to see 
sights at that time of night.' 

Mrs. Garland was sorry, but resolved to adhere to 
the arrangement. The night came on ; and it having 
gone abroad that the King would pass by the road, 
many of the villagers went out to see the procession. 
When the two Lovedays and Mrs. Garland were gone, 
Anne bolted the door for security, and sat down to 
think again on her grave responsibilities in the choice 
of a husband, now that her natural guardian could no 
longer be trusted. 

A knock came to the door. 

Anne's instinct was at once to be silent, that the 
comer might think the family had retired. 

The knocking person, however, was not to be easily 
persuaded. He had in fact seen rays of light over the 
top of the shutter, and, unable to get an answer, went 



on to the door of the mill, which was still going, the 
miller sometimes grinding all night when busy. The 
grinder accompanied the stranger to Mrs. Garland's 

' The daughter is certainly at home, sir,' said the 
grinder. ' I'll go round to t'other side, and see if she's 
there, Master Derriman.' 

' I want to take her out to see the King,' said 

Anne had started at the sound of the voice. No 
opportunity could have been better for carrying out her 
new convictions on the disposal of her hand. But in 
her mortal dislike of Festus, Anne forgot her principles, 
and her idea of keeping herself above the Lovedays. 
Tossing on her hat and blowing out the candle, she 
slipped out at the back door, and hastily followed in the 
direction that her mother and the rest had taken. She 
overtook them as they were beginning to climb the hill. 

' What ! you have altered your mind after all ? ' said 
the widow. ' How came you to do that, my dear ? ' 

' I thought I might as well come,' said Anne. 

1 To be sure you did,' said the miller heartily. ' A 
good deal better than biding at home there.' 

John said nothing, though she could almost see 
through the gloom how glad he was that she had 
altered her mind. When they reached the ridge over 
which the highway stretched they found many of their 
neighbours who had got there before them idling on 
the grass border between the roadway and the hedge, 
enjoying a sort of midnight picnic, which it was easy to 
do, the air being still and dry. Some carriages were also 
standing near, though most people of the district who 
possessed four wheels, or even two, had driven into the 
town to await the King there. From this height could 
be seen in the distance the position of the watering- 
place, an additional number of lanterns, lamps, and 
candles having been lighted to-night by the loyal 

97 G 


burghers to grace the royal entry, if it should occur 
before dawn. 

Mrs. Garland touched Anne's elbow several times as 
they walked, and the young woman at last understood 
that this was meant as a hint to her to take the trumpet- 
major's arm, which its owner was rather suggesting than 
offering to her. Anne wondered what infatuation was 
possessing her mother, declined to take the arm, and 
contrived to get in front with the miller, who mostly 
kept in the van to guide the others' footsteps. The 
trumpet-major was left with Mrs. Garland, and Anne's 
encouraging pursuit of them induced him to say a few 
words to the former. 

' By your leave, ma'am, I'll speak to you on some- 
thing that concerns my mind very much indeed ? ' 

' Certainly.' 

' It is my wish to be allowed to pay my addresses to 
your daughter.' 

' I thought you meant that,' said Mrs. Garland 

' And you'll not object ! ' 

c I shall leave it to her. I don't think she will agree, 
even if I do.' 

The soldier sighed, and seemed helpless. ' Well, 
I can but ask her,' he said, 

The spot on which they had finally chosen to wait 
for the King was by a field gate, whence the white 
road could be seen for a long distance northwards by 
day, and some little distance now. They lingered and 
lingered, but no King came to break the silence of 
that beautiful summer night. As half-hour after half- 
hour glided by, and nobody came, Anne began to get 
weary; she knew why her mother did not propose to 
go back, and regretted the reason. She would have 
proposed it herself, but that Mrs. Garland seemed so 
cheerful, and as wide awake as at noonday, so that it 
was almost a cruelty to disturb her. 



The trumpet-major at last made up his mind, and 
tried to draw Anne into a private conversation. The 
feeling which a week ago had been a vague and piquant 
aspiration, was to-day altogether too lively for the reason- 
ing of this warm-hearted soldier to regulate. So he 
persevered in his intention to catch her alone, and at 
last, in spite of her manoeuvres to the contrary, he 
succeeded. The miller and Mrs. Garland had walked 
about fifty yards further on, and Anne and himself were 
left standing by the gate. 

But the gallant musician's soul was so much disturbed 
by tender vibrations and by the sense of his presumption 
that he could not begin ; and it may be questioned 
if he would ever have broached the subject at all, 
had not a distant church clock opportunely assisted 
him by striking the hour of three. The trumpet-major 
heaved a breath of relief. 

' That clock strikes in G sharp,' he said. 

' Indeed G sharp ? ' said Anne civilly. 

' Yes. 'Tis a fine-toned bell. I used to notice that 
note when I was a boy.' 

4 Did you the very same ? ' 

' Yes ; and since then I had a wager about that 
bell with the bandmaster of the North Wessex Militia. 
He said the note was G ; I said it wasn't. When we 
found it G sharp we didn't know how to settle it.' 

' It is not a deep note for a clock.' 

' O no ! The finest tenor bell about here is the 
bell of Peter's, Casterbridge in E flat. Tum-m-m-m 
that's the note tum-m-m-m.' The trumpet-major 
sounded from far down his throat what he considered 
to be E flat, with a parenthetic sense of luxury un- 
quenchable even by his present distraction. 

' Shall we go on to where my mother is ? ' said 
Anne, less impressed by the beauty of the note than 
the trumpet-major himself was. 

' In one minute,' he said tremulously. ' Talking of 


music I fear you don't think the rank of a trumpet- 
major much to compare with your own ? ' 

' I do. I think a trumpet-major a very respectable 

'I am glad to hear you say that. It is given out 
by the King's command that trumpet-majors are to be 
considered respectable.' 

' Indeed ! Then I am, by chance, more loyal than I 
thought for.' 

' I get a good deal a year extra to the trumpeters, 
because of my position.' 

' That's very nice.' 

' And I am not supposed ever to drink with the 
trumpeters who serve beneath me.' 

' Naturally.' 

' And, by the orders of the War Office, I am to exert 
over them (that's the government word) exert over them 
full authority ; and if any one behaves towards me with 
the least impropriety, or neglects my orders, he is to be 
confined and reported.' 

' It is really a dignified post,' she said, with, however, 
a reserve of enthusiasm which was not altogether en- 

' And of course some day I shall,' stammered the 
dragoon ' shall be in rather a better position than I am 
at present.' 

' I am glad to hear it, Mr. Loveday.' 

' And in short, Mistress Anne,' continued John Love- 
day bravely and desperately, ' may I pay court to you in 
the hope that no, no, don't go away ! you haven't 
heard yet that you may make me the happiest of men ; 
not yet, but when peace is proclaimed and all is smooth 
and easy again ? I can't put it any better, though there's 
more to be explained.' 

'This is most awkward,' said Anne, evidently with 
pain. ' I cannot possibly agree ; believe me, Mr. Love- 
day, I cannot.' 



' But there's more than this. You would be sur- 
prised to see what snug rooms the married trumpet- 
and sergeant-majors have in quarters.' 

' Barracks are not all ; consider camp and war.' 

' That brings me to my strong point ! ' exclaimed the 
soldier hopefully. ' My father is better off than most 
non-commissioned officers' fathers ; and there's always a 
home for you at his house in any emergency. I can tell 
you privately that he has enough to keep us both, and if 
you wouldn't hear of barracks, well, peace once estab- 
lished, I'd live at home as a miller and farmer next 
door to your own mother.' 

' My mother would be sure to object,' expostulated 

' No ; she leaves it all to you.' 

' What ! you have asked her ? ' said Anne, with 

' Yes. I thought it would not be honourable to act 

' That's very good of you,' said Anne, her face warm- 
ing with a generous sense of his straightforwardness. 
' But my mother is so entirely ignorant of a soldier's life, 
and the life of a soldier's wife she is so simple in all 
such matters, that I cannot listen to you any more 
readily for what she may say.' 

' Then it is all over for me,' said the poor trumpet- 
major, wiping his face and putting away his handkerchief 
with an air of finality. 

Anne was silent. Any woman who has ever tried 
will know without explanation what an unpalatable task 
it is to dismiss, even when she does not love him, a 
man who has all the natural and moral qualities she 
would desire, and only fails in the social. Would-be 
lovers are not so numerous, even with the best women, 
that the sacrifice of one can be felt as other than a 
good thing wasted, in a world where there are few good 



' You are not angry, Miss Garland ? ' said he, finding 
that she did not speak. 

' O no. Don't let us say anything more about this 
now.' And she moved on. 

When she drew near to the miller and her mother 
she perceived that they were engaged in a conversation 
of that peculiar kind which is all the more full and 
communicative from the fact of definitive words being 
few. In short, here the game was succeeding which 
with herself had failed. It was pretty clear from the 
symptoms, marks, tokens, telegraphs, and general by- 
play between widower and widow, that Miller Loveday 
must have again said to Mrs. Garland some such thing 
as he had said before, with what result this time she did 
not know. 

As the situation was delicate, Anne halted awhile 
apart from them. The trumpet-major, quite ignorant 
of how his cause was entered into by the white-coated 
man in the distance (for his father had not yet told him 
of his designs upon Mrs. Garland), did not advance, 
but stood still by the gate, as though he were attending 
a princess, waiting till he should be called up. Thus 
they lingered, and the day began to break. Mrs. 
Garland and the miller took no heed of the time, and 
what it was bringing to earth and sky, so occupied were 
they with themselves ; but Anne in her place and the 
trumpet-major in his, each in private thought of no 
bright kind, watched the gradual glory of the east through 
all its tones and changes. The world of birds and 
insects got lively, the blue and the yellow and the gold 
of Loveday's uniform again became distinct ; the sun 
bored its way upward, the fields, the trees, and the 
distant landscape kindled to flame, and the trumpet- 
major, backed by a lilac shadow as tall as a steeple, 
blazed in the rays like a very god of war. ' 

It was half-past three o'clock. A short time after, 
a rattle of horses and wheels reached their ears from 


the quarter in which they gazed, and there appeared 
upon the white line of road a moving mass, which pre- 
sently ascended the hill and drew near. 

Then there arose a huzza from the few knots of 
watchers gathered there, and they cried, ' Long live 
King Jarge ! ' The cortege passed abreast. It consisted 
of three travelling-carriages, escorted by a detachment 
of the German Legion. Anne was told to look in the 
first carriage a post-chariot drawn by four horses 
for the King and Queen, and was rewarded by seeing a 
profile reminding her of the current coin of the realm ; 
but as the party had been travelling all night, and the 
spectators here gathered were few, none of the royal 
family looked out of the carriage windows. It was said 
that the two elder princesses were in the same carriage, 
but they remained invisible. The next vehicle, a coach 
and four, contained more princesses, and the third some 
of their attendants. 

' Thank God, I have seen my King ! ' said Mrs. 
Garland, when they had all gone by. 

Nobody else expressed any thankfulness, for most of 
them had expected a more pompous procession than 
the bucolic tastes of the King cared to indulge in ; and 
one old man said grimly that that sight of dusty old 
leather coaches was not worth waiting for. Anne looked 
hither and thither in the bright rays of the day, each of 
her eyes having a little sun in it, which gave her glance 
a peculiar golden fire, and kindled the brown curls 
grouped over her forehead to a yellow brilliancy, and 
made single hairs, blown astray by the night, look like 
lacquered wires. She was wondering if Festus were 
anywhere near, but she could not see him. 

Before they left the ridge they turned their attention 
towards the Royal watering-place, which was visible at 
this place only as a portion of the sea-shore, from which 
the night-mist was rolling slowly back. The sea beyond 
was still wrapped in summer fog, the ships in the roads 


showing through it as black spiders suspended in the air. 
While they looked and walked a white jet of smoke burst 
from a spot which the miller knew to be the battery in 
front of the King's residence, and then the report of guns 
reached their ears. This announcement was answered 
by a salute from the Castle of the adjoining Isle, and 
the ships in the neighbouring anchorage. All the bells 
in the town began ringing. The King and his family 
had arrived. 






the days went on, echoes of the life and bustle of 
the town reached the ears of the quiet people in Over- 
combe hollow exciting and moving those unimportant 
natives as a ground-swell moves the weeds in a cave. 
Travelling-carriages of all kinds and colours climbed and 
descended the road that led towards the seaside borough. 
Some contained those personages of the King's suite 
who had not kept pace with him in his journey from 
Windsor; others were the coaches of aristocracy, big 
and little, whom news of the King's arrival drew thither 
for their own pleasure : so that the highway, as seen from 
the hills about Overcombe, appeared like an ant-walk , 
a constant succession of dark spots creeping along its 
surface at nearly uniform rates of progress, and all in 
one direction. 

The traffic and intelligence between camp and town 
passed in a measure over the villagers' heads. It being 
summer time the miller was much occupied with business, 
and the trumpet-major was too constantly engaged in 
marching between the camp and Gloucester Lodge with 
the rest of the dragoons to bring his friends any news for 
some days. 



At last he sent a message that there was to be a 
review on the downs by the King, and that it was fixed 
for the day following. This information soon spread 
through the village and country round, and next morning 
the whole population of Overcombe except two or three 
very old men and women, a few babies and their nurses, 
a cripple, and Corporal Tullidge ascended the slope with 
the crowds from afar, and awaited the events of the day. 
The miller wore his best coat on this occasion, which 
meant a good deal. An Overcombe man in those days 
would have a best coat, and keep it as a best coat half his 
life. The miller's had seen five and twenty summers, 
chiefly through the chinks of a clothes-box, and was not 
at all shabby as yet, though getting singular. But that 
could not be helped ; common coats and best coats were 
distinct species, and never interchangeable. Living so 
near the scene of the review he walked up the hill, 
accompanied by Mrs. Garland and Anne as usual. 

It was a clear day, with little wind stirring, and the 
view from the downs, one of the most extensive in the 
county, was unclouded. The eye of any observer who 
cared for such things swept over the wave- washed town, 
and the bay beyond, and the Isle, with its pebble bank, 
lying on the sea to the left of these, like a great crouching 
animal tethered to the mainland. On the extreme east of 
the marine horizon, St. Aldhelm's Head closed the scene, 
the sea to the southward of that point glaring like a mirror 
under the sun. Inland could be seen Badbury Rings, 
where a beacon had been recently erected ; and nearer, 
Rainbarrow, on Egdon Heath, where another stood : far- 
ther to the left Bulbafrow, where there was yet another. 
Not far from this came Nettlecombe Tout ; to the west, 
Dogberry Hill, and Black'on near to the foreground, the 
beacon thereon being built of furze faggots thatched with 
straw, and standing on the spot where the monument 
now raises its head. 

At nine o'clock the troops marched upon the ground 


some from the camps in the vicinity, and some from 
quarters in the different towns round about. The ap- 
proaches to the down were blocked with carriages of all 
descriptions, ages, and colours, and with pedestrians of 
every class. At ten the royal personages were said to 
be drawing near, and soon after the King, accompanied 
by the Dukes of Cambridge and Cumberland, and a 
couple of generals, appeared on horseback, wearing a 
round hat turned up at the side, with a cockade and 
military feather. (Sensation among the crowd.) Then 
the Queen and three of the princesses entered the field 
in a great coach drawn by six beautiful cream-coloured 
horses. Another coach, with four horses of the same 
sort, brought the two remaining princesses. (Confused 
acclamations, ' There's King Jarge ! ' ' That's Queen 
Sharlett ! ' ' Princess 'Lizabeth ! ' ' Princesses Sophiar 
and Meelyer ! ' &c., from the surrounding spectators.) 

Anne and her party were fortunate enough to secure 
a position on the top of one of the barrows which rose 
here and there on the down ; and the miller having 
gallantly constructed a little cairn of flints, he placed the 
two women thereon, by which means they were enabled 
to see over the heads, horses, and coaches of the multi- 
tudes below and around. At the march-past the miller's 
eye, which had been wandering about for the purpose, 
discovered his son in his place by the trumpeters, who 
had moved forwards in two ranks, and were sounding 
the march. 

' That's John ! ' he cried to the widow. ' His 
trumpet-sling is of two colours, d'ye see ; and the 
others be plain.' 

Mrs. Garland too saw him now, and enthusiastically 
admired him from her hands upwards, and Anne silently 
did the same. But before the young woman's eyes had 
quite left the trumpet-major they fell upon the figure of 
Yeoman Festus riding with his troop, and keeping his 
face at a medium between haughtiness and mere bravery. 


He certainly looked as soldierly as any of his own corps, 
and felt more soldierly than half-a-dozen, as anybody 
could see by observing him. Anne got behind the 
miller, in case Festus should discover her, and, regard- 
less of his monarch, rush upon her in a rage with, ' Why 
the devil did you run away from me that night hey, 
madam ? ' But she resolved to think no more of him 
just now, and to stick to Loveday, who was her mother's 
friend. In this she was helped by the stirring tones 
which burst from the latter gentleman and his subordi- 
nates from time to time. 

'Well,' said the miller complacently, 'there's few of 
more consequence in a regiment than a trumpeter. 
He's the chap that tells 'em what to do, after all. Hey, 
Mrs. Garland ? ' 

' So he is, miller,' said she. 

' They could no more do without Jack and his men 
than they could without generals.' 

' Indeed they could not,' said Mrs. Garland again, in 
a tone of pleasant agreement with any one in Great 
Britain or Ireland. 

It was said that the line that day was three miles 
long, reaching from the high ground on the right of 
where the people stood to the turnpike road on the left. 
After the review came a sham fight, during which action 
the crowd dispersed more widely over the downs, 
enabling Widow Garland to get still clearer glimpses 
of the King, and his handsome charger, and the head 
of the Queen, and the elbows and shoulders of the 
princesses in the carriages, and fractional parts of 
General Garth and the Duke of Cumberland; which 
sights gave her great gratification. She tugged at her 
daughter at every opportunity, exclaiming, ' Now you 
can see his feather ! ' There's her hat ! ' ' There's 
her Majesty's India muslin shawl ! ' in a minor form of 
ecstasy, that made the miller think her more girlish and 
animated than her daughter Anne. 


In those military manoeuvres the miller followed the 
fortunes of one man; Anne Garland of two. The 
spectators, who, unlike our party, had no personal 
interest in the soldiery, saw only troops and battalions 
in the concrete, straight lines of red, straight lines of 
blue, white lines formed of innumerable knee-breeches, 
black lines formed of many gaiters, coming and going 
in kaleidoscopic change. Who thought of every point 
in the line as an isolated man, each dwelling all to 
himself in the hermitage of his own mind ? One person 
did, a young man far removed from the barrow where 
the Garlands and Miller Loveday stood. The natural 
expression of his face was somewhat obscured by the 
bronzing effects of rough weather, but the lines of his 
mouth showed that affectionate impulses were strong 
within him perhaps stronger than judgment well could 
regulate. He wore a blue jacket with little brass 
buttons, and was plainly a seafaring man. 

Meanwhile, in the part of the plain where rose the 
tumulus on which the miller had established himself, a 
broad-brimmed tradesman was elbowing his way along. 
He saw Mr. Loveday from the base of the barrow, and 
beckoned to attract his attention. Loveday went half- 
way down, and the other came up as near as he could. 

'Miller,' said the man, 'a letter has been lying at 
the post-office for you for the last three days. If I had 
known that I should see ye here I'd have brought it 
along with me.' 

The miller thanked him for the news, and they 
parted, Loveday returning to the summit. 'What a 
very strange thing ! ' he said to Mrs. Garland, who had 
looked inquiringly at his face, now very grave. ' That 
was Budmouth postmaster, and he says there's a letter 
for me. Ah, I now call to mind that there was a letter 
in the candle three days ago this very night a large 
red one; but foolish-like I thought nothing o't. Who 
can that letter be from ? ' 



A letter at this time was such an event for hamleteers, 
even of the miller's respectable standing, that Loveday 
thenceforward was thrown into a fit of abstraction which 
prevented his seeing any more of the sham fight, or 
the people, or the King. Mrs. Garland imbibed some 
of his concern, and suggested that the letter might come 
from his son Robert. 

' I should naturally have thought that,' said Miller 
Loveday ; ' but he wrote to me only two months ago, 
and his brother John heard from him within the last 
four weeks, when he was just about starting on another 
voyage. If you'll pardon me, Mrs. Garland, ma'am, I'll 
see if there's any Overcombe man here who is going to 
Budmouth to-day, so that I may get the letter by night- 
time. I cannot possibly go myself.' 

So Mr. Loveday left them for awhile; and as they 
were so near home Mrs. Garland did not wait on the 
barrow for him to come back, but walked about with 
Anne a little time, until they should be disposed to trot 
down the slope to their own door. They listened to a 
man who was offering one guinea to receive ten in case 
Buonaparte should be killed in three months, and to 
other entertainments of that nature, which at this time 
were not rare. Once during their peregrination the 
eyes of the sailor before-mentioned fell upon Anne ; but 
he glanced over her and passed her unheedingly by. 
Loveday the elder was at this time on the other side of 
the line, looking for a messenger to the town. At 
twelve o'clock the review was over, and the King and 
his family left the hill. The troops then cleared off the 
field, the spectators followed, and by one o'clock the 
downs were again bare. 

They still spread their grassy surface to the sun as 
on that beautiful morning not, historically speaking, so 
very long ago ; but the King and his fifteen thousand 
armed men, the horses, the bands of music, the 
princesses, the cream-coloured teams the gorgeous 


centre-piece, in short, to which the downs were but 
the mere mount or margin how entirely have they all 
passed and gone! lying scattered about the world 
as military and other dust, some at Talavera, Albuera, 
Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse, and Waterloo; some in 
home churchyards ; and a few small handfuls in royal 

In the afternoon John Loveday, lightened of his 
trumpet and trappings, appeared at the old mill-house 
door, and beheld Anne standing at hers. 

' I saw you, Miss Garland,' said the soldier gaily. 

' Where was I ? ' said she, smiling. 

' On the top of the big mound to the right of the 

' And I saw you ; lots of times,' she rejoined. 

Loveday seemed pleased. ' Did you really take the 
trouble to find me ? That was very good of you.' 

' Her eyes followed you everywhere,' said Mrs. Gar- 
land from an upper window. 

' Of course I looked at the dragoons most,' said 
Anne, disconcerted. ' And when I looked at them my 
eyes naturally fell upon the trumpets. I looked at the 
dragoons generally, no more.' 

She did not mean to show any vexation to the 
trumpet-major, but he fancied otherwise, and stood 
repressed. The situation was relieved by the arrival of 
the miller, still looking serious. 

' I am very much concerned, John ; I did not go 
to the review for nothing. There's a letter a-waiting 
for me at Budmouth, and I must get it before bedtime, 
or I shan't sleep a wink.' 

' I'll go, of course,' said John ; ' and perhaps 
Miss Garland would like to see what's doing there 
to-day ? Everybody is gone or going ; the road is like 
a fair.' 

He spoke pleadingly, but Anne was not won to 



' You can drive in the gig ; 'twill do Blossom good,' 
said the miller. 

' Let David drive Miss Garland,' said the trumpet- 
major, not wishing to coerce her ; ' I would just as soon 

Anne joyfully welcomed this arrangement, and a time 
was fixed for the start. 



IN the afternoon they drove off, John Loveday being 
nowhere visible. All along the road they passed and 
were overtaken by vehicles of all descriptions going in 
the same direction; among them the extraordinary 
machines which had been invented for the conveyance 
of troops to any point of the coast on which the enemy 
should land; they consisted of four boards placed 
across a sort of trolly, thirty men of the volunteer 
companies riding on each. 

The popular Georgian watering-place was in a par- 
oxysm of gaiety. The town was quite overpowered by 
the country round, much to the town's delight and profit. 
The fear of invasion was such that six frigates lay in 
the roads to ensure the safety of the royal family, 
and from the regiments of horse and foot quartered at 
the barracks, or encamped on the hills round about, 
a picket of a thousand men mounted guard every day 
in front of Gloucester Lodge, where the King resided. 
When Anne and her attendant reached this point, 
which they did on foot, stabling the horse on the outr 
skirts of the town, it was about six o'clock. The 
King was on the Esplanade, and the soldiers were just 
113 H 


marching past to mount guard. The band formed in 
front of the King, and all the officers saluted as they 
went by. 

Anne now felt herself close to and looking into the 
stream of recorded history, within whose banks the littlest 
things are great, and outside which she and the general 
bulk of the human race were content to live on as an 
unreckoned, unheeded superfluity. 

When she turned from her interested gaze at this 
scene, there stood John Loveday. She had had a pre- 
sentiment that he would turn up in this mysterious 
way. It was marvellous that he could have got there 
so quickly; but there he was not looking at the 
King, or at the crowd, but waiting for the turn of 
her head. 

' Trumpet-major, I didn't see you,' said Anne de- 
murely. ' How is it that your regiment is not marching 
past ? ' 

' We take it by turns, and it is not our turn,' said 

She wanted to know then if they were afraid that 
the King would be carried off by the First Consul. 
Yes, Loveday told her ; and his Majesty was rather ven- 
turesome. A day or two before he had gone so far 
to sea that he was nearly caught by some of the enemy's 
cruisers. ' He is anxious to fight Boney single-handed,' 
he said. 

' What a good, brave King ! ' said Anne. 

Loveday seemed anxious to come to more personal 
matters. ' Will you let me take you round to the other 
side, where you can see better ? ' he asked. ' The Queen 
and the princesses are at the window.' 

Anne passively assented. ' David, wait here for me,' 
she said ; ' I shall be back again in a few minutes.' 

The trumpet-major then led her off triumphantly, and 
they skirted the crowd and came round on the side to- 
wards the sands. He told her everything he could think 


of, military and civil, to which Anne returned pretty 
syllables and parenthetic words about the colour of the 
sea and the curl of the foam a way of speaking that 
moved the soldier's heart even more than long and direct 
speeches would have done. 

' And that other thing I asked you ? ' he ventured to 
say at last. 

4 We won't speak of it.' 

4 You don't dislike me ? ' 

4 O no ! ' she said, gazing at the bathing-machines, 
digging children, and other common objects of the sea- 
shore, as if her interest lay there rather than with him. 

4 But I am not worthy of the daughter of a genteel 
professional man that's what you mean ? ' 

4 There's something more than worthiness required in 
such cases, you know,' she said, still without calling her 
mind away from surrounding scenes. 4 Ah, there are the 
Queen and princesses at the window ! ' 

4 Something more ? ' 

4 Well, since you will make me speak, I mean the 
woman ought to love the man.' 

The trumpet-major seemed to be less concerned about 
this than about her supposed superiority. 4 If it were 
all right on that point, would you mind the other ? ' he 
asked, like a man who knows he is too persistent, yet who 
cannot be still. 

4 How can I say, when I don't know ? What a pretty 
chip hat the elder princess wears ! ' 

Her companion's general disappointment extended 
over him almost to his lace and his plume. ' Your 
mother said, you know, Miss Anne ' 

4 Yes, that's the worst of it,' she said. ' Let us go 
back to David; I have seen all I want to see, Mr. 

The mass of the people had by this time noticed the 
Queen and princesses at the window, and raised a cheer, 
to which the ladies waved their embroidered handker- 


chiefs. Anne went back towards the pavement with her 
trumpet-major, whom all the girls envied her, so fine- 
looking a soldier was he; and not only for that, but 
because it was well known that he was not a soldier 
from necessity, but from patriotism, his father having 
repeatedly offered to set him up in business : his artistic 
taste in preferring a horse and uniform to a dirty, 
rumbling flour-mill was admired by all. She, too, had a 
very nice appearance in her best clothes as she walked 
along the sarcenet hat, muslin shawl, and tight-sleeved 
gown being of the newest Overcombe fashion, that was 
only about a year old in the adjoining town, and in 
London three or four. She could not be harsh to 
Loveday and dismiss him curtly, for his musical pursuits 
had refined him, educated him, and made him quite 
poetical. To-day he had been particularly well-mannered 
and tender ; so, instead of answering, ' Never speak to 
me like this again,' she merely put him off with a ' Let 
us go back to David.' 

When they reached the place where they had left him 
David was gone. 

Anne was now positively vexed. ' What shall I do ? ' 
she said. 

'He's only gone to drink the King's health,' said 
Loveday, who had privately given David the money for 
performing that operation. ' Depend upon it, he'll be 
back soon.' 

' Will you go and find him ? ' said she, with intense 
propriety in her looks and tone. 

' I will,' said Loveday reluctantly ; and he went. 

Anne stood still. She could now escape her gal- 
lant friend, for, although the distance was long, it was 
not impossible to walk home. On the other hand, 
Loveday was a good and sincere fellow, for whom she 
had almost a brotherly feeling, and she shrank from 
such a trick. While she stood and mused, scarcely 
heeding the music, the marching of the soldiers, the 


King, the dukes, the brilliant staff, the attendants, and 
the happy groups of people, her eyes fell upon the 

Before her she saw a flower lying a crimson sweet- 
william fresh and uninjured. An instinctive wish to 
save it from destruction by the passengers' feet led her to 
pick it up ; and then, moved by a sudden self-conscious- 
ness, she looked around. She was standing before an 
inn, and from an upper window Festus Derriman was 
leaning with two or three kindred spirits of his cut and 
kind. He nodded eagerly, and signified to her that he 
had thrown the flower. 

What should she do? To throw it away would 
seem stupid, and to keep it was awkward. She held it 
between her finger and thumb, twirled it round on its 
axis and twirled it back again, regarding and yet not 
examining it. Just then she saw the trumpet-major 
coming back. 

' I can't find David anywhere,' he said ; and his heart 
was not sorry as he said it. 

Anne was still holding out the sweet-william as if 
about to drop it, and, scarcely knowing what she did 
under the distressing sense that she was watched, she 
offered the flower to Loveday. 

His face brightened with pleasure as he took it. 
' Thank you, indeed,' he said. 

Then Anne saw what a misleading blunder she had 
committed towards Loveday in playing to the yeoman. 
Perhaps she had sown the seeds of a quarrel. 

' It was not my sweet-william,' she said hastily ; ' it 
was lying on the ground. I don't mean anything by 
giving it to you.' 

'But I'll keep it all the same,' said the innocent 
soldier, as if he knew a good deal about womankind ; 
and he put the flower carefully inside his jacket, between 
his white waistcoat and his heart. 

Festus, seeing this, enlarged himself wrathfully, got 


hot in the face, rose to his feet, and glared down upon 
them like a turnip-lantern. 

' Let us go away,' said Anne timorously. 

' I'll see you safe to your own door, depend upon 
me,' said Loveday. ' But I had near forgot there's 
father's letter, that he's so anxiously waiting for ! Will 
you come with me to the post-office ? Then I'll take 
you straight home.' 

Anne, expecting Festus to pounce down every minute, 
was glad to be off anywhere ; so she accepted the sug- 
gestion, and they went along the parade together. 

Loveday set this down as a proof of Anne's relenting. 
Thus in joyful spirits he entered the office, paid the 
postage, and received the letter. 

' It is from Bob, after all ! ' he said. ' Father told 
me to read it at once, in case of bad news. Ask your 
pardon for keeping you a moment.' He broke the seal 
and read, Anne standing silently by. 

' He is coming home to be married] said the trumpet- 
major, without looking up. 

Anne did not answer. The blood swept impetuously 
up her face at his words, and as suddenly went away 
again, leaving her rather paler than before. She dis- 
guised her agitation and then overcame it, Loveday 
observing nothing of this emotional performance. 

' As far as I can understand he will be here Saturday,' 
he said. 

' Indeed ! ' said Anne quite calmly. ' And who is he 
going to marry ? ' 

' That I don't know,' said John, turning the letter 
about. ' The woman is a stranger.' 

At this moment the miller entered the office hastily. 

' Come, John,' he cried, ' I have been waiting and 
waiting for that there letter till I was nigh crazy ! ' 

John briefly explained the news, and when his father 
had recovered from his astonishment, taken off his hat, 
and wiped the exact line where his forehead joined 


his hair, he walked with Anne up the street, leaving 
John to return alone. The miller was so absorbed 
in his mental perspective of Bob's marriage, that he 
saw nothing of the gaieties they passed through; and 
Anne seemed also so much impressed by the same 
intelligence, that she crossed before the inn occupied by 
Festus without showing a recollection of his presence 





WHEN they reached home the sun was going down. 
It had already been noised abroad that miller Loveday 
had received a letter, and, his cart having been heard 
coming up the lane, the population of Overcombe drew 
down towards the mill as soon as he had gone indoors 
a sudden flash of brightness from the window show- 
ing that he had struck such an early light as nothing 
but the immediate deciphering of literature could re- 
quire. Letters were matters of public moment, and 
everybody in the parish had an interest in the reading 
of those rare documents ; so that when the miller had 
placed the candle, slanted himself, and called in Mrs. 
Garland to have her opinion on the meaning of any 
hieroglyphics that he might encounter in his course, he 
found that he was to be additionally assisted by the 
opinions of the other neighbours, whose persons ap- 
peared in the doorway, partly covering each other like 
a hand of cards, yet each showing a large enough piece 
of himself for identification. To pass the time while 
they were arranging themselves, the miller adopted his 
usual way of filling up casual intervals, that of snuffing 
the candle. 



' We heard you had got a letter, Maister Loveday,' 
they said. 

' Yes ; " Southampton, the twelfth of August, dear 
father," ' said Loveday ; and they were as silent as 
relations at the reading of a will. Anne, for whom 
the letter had a singular fascination, came in with her 
mother and sat down. 

Bob stated in his own way that having, since landing, 
taken into consideration his father's wish that he should 
renounce a seafaring life and become a partner in the 
mill, he had decided to agree to the proposal ; and 
with that object in view he would return to Overcombe 
in three days from the time of writing. 

He then said incidentally that since his voyage he 
had been in lodgings at Southampton, and during that 
time had become acquainted with a lovely and virtuous 
young maiden, in whom he found the exact qualities 
necessary to his happiness. Having known this lady 
for the full space of a fortnight he had had ample oppor- 
tunities of studying her character, and, being struck 
with the recollection that, if there was one thing more 
than another necessary in a mill which had no mistress, 
it was somebody who could play that part with grace and 
dignity, he had asked Miss Matilda Johnson to be his 
wife. In her kindness she, though sacrificing far better 
prospects, had agreed ; and he could not but regard 
it as a happy chance that he should have found at the 
nick of time such a woman to adorn his home, whose 
innocence was as stunning as her beauty. Without 
much ado, therefore, he and she had arranged to be 
married at once, and at Overcombe, that his father 
might not be deprived of the pleasures of the wedding 
feast. She had kindly consented to follow him by land 
in the course of a few days, and to live in the house as 
their guest for the week or so previous to the ceremony. 

' 'Tis a proper good letter,' said Mrs. Comfort from 
the background. ' I never heerd true love better put 



out of hand in my life ; and they seem 'nation fond of 
one another.' 

' He haven't knowed her such a very long time,' said 
Job Mitchell dubiously. 

'That's nothing,' said Esther Beach. "Nater will 
find her way very rapid when the time's come for't. 
Well, 'tis good news for ye, miller.' 

'Yes, sure, I hope 'tis,' said Loveday, without, how- 
ever, showing any great hurry to burst into the frantic 
form of fatherly joy which the event should naturally 
have produced, seeming more disposed to let off his 
feelings by examining thoroughly into the fibres of the 

' I was five years a-courting my wife,' he presently 
remarked. ' But folks were slower about everything in 
them days. Well, since she's coming we must make 
her welcome. Did any of ye catch by my reading which 
day it is he means ? What with making out the pen- 
manship, my mind was drawn off from the sense here 
and there.' 

' He says in three days,' said Mrs. Garland. ' The 
date of the letter will fix it.' 

On examination it was found that the day appointed 
was the one nearly expired ; at which the miller jumped 
up and said, ' Then he'll be here before bedtime. I 
didn't gather till now that he was coming afore Saturday. 
Why, he may drop in this very minute ! ' 

He had scarcely spoken when footsteps were heard 
coming along the front, and they presently halted at the 
door. Loveday pushed through the neighbours and 
rushed out; and, seeing in the passage a form which 
obscured the declining light, the miller seized hold of 
him, saying, ' O my dear Bob ; then you are come ! ' 

' Scrounch it all, miller, don't quite pull my poor 
shoulder out of joint ! Whatever is the matter ? ' said 
the new-comer, trying to release himself from Loveday's 
grasp of affection. It was Uncle Benjy. 



1 Thought 'twas my son ! ' faltered the miller, sinking 
back upon the toes of the neighbours who had closely 
followed him into the entry. 'Well, come in, Mr. 
Derriman, and make yerself at home. Why, you haven't 
been here for years ! Whatever has made you come now, 
sir, of all times in the world ? ' 

' Is he in there with ye ? ' whispered the farmer with 

' Who ? ' 

'My nephew; after that maid that he's so mighty 
smit with ? ' 

' O no ; he never calls here.' 

Farmer Derriman breathed a breath of relief. ' Well, 
I've called to tell ye,' he said, ' that there's more news 
of the French. We shall have 'em here this month as 
sure as a gun. The gunboats be all ready near two 
thousand of 'em and the whole army is at Boulogne. 
And, miller, I know ye to be an honest man.' 

Loveday did not say nay. 

' Neighbour Loveday, I know ye to be an honest man,' 
repeated the old squireen. ' Can I speak to ye alone ? ' 

As the house was full, Loveday took him into the 
garden, all the while upon tenter-hooks, not lest Buona- 
parte should appear in their midst, but lest Bob should 
come whilst he was not there to receive him. When 
they had got into a corner Uncle Benjy said, ' Miller, 
what with the French, and what with my nephew Festus, 
I assure ye my life is nothing but wherrit from morning 
to night. Miller Loveday, you are an honest man.' 

Loveday nodded. 

' Well, I've come to ask a favour to ask if you will 
take charge of my few poor title-deeds and documents 
and suchlike, while I am away from home next week, 
lest anything should befall me, and they should be stole 
away by Boney or Festus, and I should have nothing 
left in the wide world ? I can trust neither banks nor 
lawyers in these terrible times ; and I am come to you.' 


Loveday after some hesitation agreed to take care of 
anything that Derriman should bring, whereupon the 
farmer said he would call with the parchments and 
papers alluded to in the course of a week. Derriman 
then went away by the garden gate, mounted his pony, 
which had been tethered outside, and rode on till his 
form was lost in the shades. 

The miller rejoined his friends, and found that in 
the meantime John had arrived. John informed the 
company that after parting from his father and Anne 
he had rambled to the harbour, and discovered the 
Pewit by the quay. On inquiry he had learnt that she 
came in at eleven o'clock, and that Bob had gone 

' We'll go and meet him,' said the miller. Tis 
still light out of doors.' 

So, as the dew rose from the meads and formed 
fleeces in the hollows, Loveday and his friends and 
neighbours strolled out, and loitered by the stiles which 
hampered the footpath from Overcombe to the high- 
road at intervals of a hundred yards. John Loveday, 
being obliged to return to camp, was unable to accom- 
pany them, but Widow Garland thought proper to fall 
in with the procession. When she had put on her 
bonnet she called to her daughter. Anne said from 
upstairs that she was coming in a minute; and her 
mother walked on without her. 

What was Anne doing ? Having hastily unlocked a 
receptacle for emotional objects of small size, she took 
thence the little folded paper with which we have 
already become acquainted, and, striking a light from 
her private tinder-box, she held the paper, and curl of 
hair it contained, in the candle till they were burnt. 
Then she put on her hat and followed her mother and 
the rest of them across the moist grey fields, cheerfully 
singing in an undertone as she went, to assure herself 
of her indifference to circumstances. 




WHILE Loveday and his neighbours were thus 
rambling forth, full of expectancy, some of them, in- 
cluding Anne in the rear, heard the crackling of light 
wheels along the curved lane to which the path was the 
chord. At once Anne thought, ' Perhaps that's he, and 
we are missing him. 5 But recent events were not of 
a kind to induce her to say anything ; and the others of 
the company did not reflect on the sound. 

Had they gone across to the hedge which hid the 
lane, and looked through it, they would have seen a 
light cart driven by a boy, beside whom was seated a 
seafaring man, apparently of good standing in the 
merchant service, with his feet outside on the shaft. 
The vehicle went over the main bridge, turned in upon 
the other bridge at the tail of the mill, and halted by 
the door. The sailor alighted, showing himself to be a 
well-shaped, active, and fine young man, with a bright 
eye, an anonymous nose, and of such a rich complexion 
by exposure to ripening suns that he might have been 
some connexion of the foreigner who calls his likeness 
the Portrait of a Gentleman in galleries of the Old 
Masters. Yet in spite of this, and though Bob Love- 


day had been all over the world from Cape Horn to 
Pekin, and from India's coral strand to the White Sea, 
the most conspicuous of all the marks that he had 
brought back with him was an increased resemblance 
to his mother, who had lain all the time beneath Over- 
combe church wall. 

Captain Loveday tried the house door ; finding this 
locked he went to the mill door : this was locked also, 
the mill being stopped for the night. 

' They are not at home,' he said to the boy. ' But 
never mind that. Just help to unload the things ; and 
then I'll pay you, and you can drive off home.' 

The cart was unloaded, and the boy was dismissed, 
thanking the sailor profusely for the payment rendered. 
Then Bob Loveday, finding that he had still some leisure 
on his hands, looked musingly east, west, north, south, 
and nadir ; after which he bestirred himself by carrying 
his goods, article by article, round to the back door, 
out of the way of casual passers. This done, he walked 
round the mill in a more regardful attitude, and sur- 
veyed its familiar features one by one the panes of the 
grinding-room, now as heretofore clouded with flour as 
with stale hoar-frost; the meal lodged in the corners 
of the window-sills, forming a soil in which lichens grew 
without ever getting any bigger, as they had done since 
his smallest infancy ; the mosses on the plinth towards 
the river, reaching as high as the capillary power of the 
walls would fetch up moisture for their nourishment, 
and the penned mill-pond, now as ever on the point 
of overflowing into the garden. Everything was the 

When he had had enough of this it occurred to 
Loveday that he might get into the house in spite of 
the locked doors ; and by entering the garden, placing 
a pole from the fork of an apple-tree to the window-sill 
of a bedroom on that side, and climbing across like a 
Barbary ape, he entered the window and stepped down 


inside. There was something anomalous in being close 
to the familiar furniture without having first seen his 
father, and its silent, impassive shine was not cheering ; 
it was as if his relations were all dead, and only their 
tables and chests of drawers left to greet him. He 
went downstairs and seated himself in the dark parlour. 
Finding this place, too, rather solitary, and the tick of 
the invisible clock preternaturally loud, he unearthed 
the tinder-box, obtained a light, and set about making 
the house comfortable for his father's return, divining 
that the miller had gone out to meet him by the wrong 

Robert's interest in this work increased as he pro- 
ceeded, and he bustled round and round the kitchen as 
lightly as a girl. David, the indoor factotum, having lost 
himself among the quart pots of Budmouth, there had 
been nobody left here to prepare supper, and Bob had 
it all to himself. In a short time a fire blazed up the 
chimney, a tablecloth was found, the plates were clapped 
down, and a search made for what provisions the house 
afforded, which, in addition to various meats, included 
some fresh eggs of the elongated shape that produces 
cockerels when hatched, and had been set aside on that 
account for putting under the next broody hen. 

A more reckless cracking of eggs than that which now 
went on had never been known in Overcombe since the 
last large christening ; and as Loveday gashed one on 
the side, another at the end, another longways, and an- 
other diagonally, he acquired adroitness by practice, and 
at last made every son of a hen of them fall into two 
hemispheres as neatly as if it opened by a hinge. From 
eggs he proceeded to ham, and from ham to kidneys, the 
result being a brilliant fry. 

Not to be tempted to fall to before his father came 

back, the returned navigator emptied the whole into a 

dish, laid a plate over the top, his coat over the plate, 

and his hat over his coat. Thus completely stopping 



in the appetizing smell, he sat down to await events. 
He was relieved from the tediousness of doing this by 
hearing voices outside ; and in a minute his father 

' Glad to welcome ye home, father,' said Bob. ' And 
supper is just ready.' 

' Lard, lard why, Captain Bob's here ! ' said Mrs. 

' And we've been out waiting to meet thee ! ' said the 
miller, as he entered the room, followed by represen- 
tatives of the houses of Cripplestraw, Comfort, Mitchell, 
Beach, and Snooks, together with some small beginnings 
of Fencible Tremlett's posterity. In the rear came 
David, and quite in the vanishing-point of the com- 
position, Anne the fair. 

' I drove over ; and so was forced to come by the 
road,' said Bob. 

' And we went across the fields, thinking you'd walk,' 
said his father. 

' I should have been here this morning ; but not so 
much as a wheelbarrow could I get for my traps ; every- 
thing was gone to the review. So I went too, thinking 
I might meet you there. I was then obliged to return to 
the harbour for the luggage.' 

Then there was a welcoming of Captain Bob by pull- 
ing out his arms like drawers and shutting them again, 
smacking him on the back as if he were choking, holding 
him at arm's length as if he were of too large type to 
read close. All which persecution Bob bore with a wide, 
genial smile that was shaken into fragments and scattered 
promiscuously among the spectators. 

' Get a chair for 'n ! ' said the miller to David, whom 
they had met in the fields and found to have got nothing 
worse by his absence than a slight slant in his walk. 

' Never mind I am not tired I have been here 
ever so long,' said Bob. 'And I ' But the chair 
having been placed behind him, and a smart touch in 


the hollow of a person's knee by the edge of that piece 
of furniture having a tendency to make the person sit 
without further argument, Bob sank down dumb, and 
the others drew up other chairs at a convenient nearness 
for easy analytic vision and the subtler forms of good 
fellowship. The miller went about saying, ' David, the 
nine best glasses from the corner cupboard ! ' ' David, 
the corkscrew ! ' ' David, whisk the tail of thy smock- 
frock round the inside of these quart pots afore you draw 
drink in 'em they be an inch thick in dust ! ' ' David, 
lower that chimney-crook a couple of notches that the 
flame may touch the bottom of the kettle, and light 
three more of the largest candles ! ' ' If you can't get 
the cork out of the jar, David, bore a hole in the tub of 
Hollands that's buried under the scroff in the fuel-house ; 
d'ye hear? Dan Brown left en there yesterday as a 
return for the little porker I gied en.' 

When they had all had a thimbleful round, and the 
superfluous neighbours had reluctantly departed, one by 
one, the inmates gave their minds to the supper, which 
David had begun to serve up. 

' What be you rolling back the tablecloth for, David ? ' 
said the miller. 

' Maister Bob have put down one of the under sheets 
by mistake, and I thought you might not like it, sir, as 
there's ladies present ! ' 

' Faith, 'twas the first thing that came to hand,' said 
Robert. ' It seemed a tablecloth to me.' 

' Never mind don't pull off the things now he's 
laid 'em down let it bide,' said the miller. ' But 
where's Widow Garland and Maidy Anne ? ' 

'They were here but a minute ago,' said David. 
' Depend upon it they have slinked off 'cause they be shy.' 

The miller at once went round to ask them to come 
back and sup with him ; and while he was gone David 
told Bob in confidence what an excellent place he had 
for an old man. 

129 I 


' Yes, Cap'n Bob, as I suppose I must call ye ; I've 
worked for yer father these eight-and-thirty years, and 
we have always got on very well together. Trusts me 
with all the keys, lends me his sleeve-waistcoat, and 
leaves the house entirely to me. Widow Garland next 
door, too, is just the same with me, and treats me as if 
I was her own child.' 

' She must have married young to make you that, 

' Yes, yes I'm years older than she. 'Tis only my 
common way of speaking.' 

Mrs. Garland would not come in to supper, and the 
meal proceeded without her, Bob recommending to his 
father the dish he had cooked, in the manner of a house- 
holder to a stranger just come. The miller was anxious 
to know more about his son's plans for the future, but 
would not for the present interrupt his eating, looking 
up from his own plate to appreciate Bob's travelled way 
of putting English victuals out of sight, as he would 
have looked at a mill on improved principles. 

David had only just got the table clear, and set 
the plates in a row under the bakehouse table for the 
cats to lick, when the door was hastily opened, and 
Mrs. Garland came in, looking concerned. 

' I have been waiting to hear the plates removed 
to tell you how frightened we are at something we hear 
at the back-door. It seems like robbers muttering ; but 
when I look out there's nobody there ! ' 

' This must be seen to,' said the miller, rising 
promptly. ' David, light the middle-sized lantern. I'll 
go and search the garden.' 

' And I'll go too,' said his son, taking up a cudgel. 
' Lucky I've come home just in time ! ' 

They went out stealthily, followed by the widow and 

Anne, who had been afraid to stay alone in the house 

under the circumstances. No sooner were they beyond 

the door when, sure enough, there was the muttering, 



almost close at hand, and low upon the ground, as from 
persons lying down in hiding. 

' Bless my heart ! ' said Bob, striking his head as 
though it were some enemy's: 'why, 'tis my luggage. 
I'd quite forgot it ! ' 

* What ! ' asked his father. 

' My luggage. Really, if it hadn't been for Mrs. 
Garland it would have stayed there all night, and they, 
poor things ! would have been starved. I've got all 
sorts of articles for ye. You go inside, and I'll bring 'em 
in. 'Tis parrots that you hear a muttering, Mrs. Garland. 
You needn't be afraid any more.' 

' Parrots ? ' said the miller. ' Well, I'm glad 'tis no 
worse. But how couldst forget so, Bob ? ' 

The packages were taken in by David and Bob, and 
the first unfastened were three, wrapped in cloths, which 
being stripped off revealed three cages, with a gorgeous 
parrot in each. 

' This one is for you, father, to hang up outside the 
door, and amuse us,' said Bob. ' He'll talk very well, 
but he's sleepy to-night. This other one I brought 
along for any neighbour that would like to have him. 
His colours are not so bright ; but 'tis a good bird. 
If you would like to have him you are welcome to him,' 
he said, turning to Anne, who had been tempted forward 
by the birds. ' You have hardly spoken yet, Miss Anne, 
but I recollect you very well. How much taller you 
have got, to be sure ! ' 

Anne said she was much obliged, but did not know 
what she could do with such a present. Mrs. Garland 
accepted it for her, and the sailor went on ' Now this 
other bird I hardly know what to do with ; but I dare 
say he'll come in for something or other.' 

' He is by far the prettiest,' said the widow. ' I 
would rather have it than the other, if you don't mind.' 

' Yes,' said Bob, with embarrassment. ' But the fact 
is, that bird will hardly do for ye, ma'am. He's a hard 


swearer, to tell the truth ; and I am afraid he's too old 
to be broken of it.' 

' How dreadful ! ' said Mrs. Garland. 

'We could keep him in the mill,' suggested the 
miller. ' It won't matter about the grinder hearing him, 
for he can't learn to cuss worse than he do already ! * 

' The grinder shall have him, then,' said Bob. ' The 
one I have given you, ma'am, has no harm in him at all. 
You might take him to church o' Sundays as far as that 

The sailor now untied a small wooden box about a 
foot square, perforated with holes. ' Here are two 
marmosets,' he continued. 'You can't see them to- 
night ; but they are beauties the tufted sort.' 

' What's a marmoset ? ' said the miller. 

' O, a little kind of monkey. They bite strangers 
rather hard, but you'll soon get used to 'em.' 

' They are wrapped up in something, I declare,' said 
Mrs. Garland, peeping in through a chink. 

' Yes, that's my flannel shirt,' said Bob apologetically. 
'They suffer terribly from cold in this climate, poor 
things ! and I had nothing better to give them. Well, 
now, in this next box I've got things of different 

The latter was a regular seaman's chest, and out of 
it he produced shells of many sizes and colours, carved 
ivories, queer little caskets, gorgeous feathers, and 
several silk handkerchiefs, which articles were spread out 
upon all the available tables and chairs till the house 
began to look like a bazaar. 

' What a lovely shawl ! ' exclaimed Widow Garland, 
in her interest forestalling the regular exhibition by look- 
ing into the box at what was coming. 

' O yes,' said the mate, pulling out a couple of the 

most bewitching shawls that eyes ever saw. 'One of 

these I am going to give to that young lady I am shortly 

to be married to, you know, Mrs. Garland. Has father 



told you about it ? Matilda Johnson, of Southampton, 
that's her name.' 

' Yes, we know all about it,' said the widow. 

'Well, I shall give one of these shawls to her 
because, of course, I ought to.' 

' Of course,' said she. 

' But the other one I've got no use for at all ; and,' 
he continued, looking round, 'will you have it, Miss 
Anne ? You refused the parrot, and you ought not to 
refuse this.' 

' Thank you,' said Anne calmly, but much distressed ; 
' but really I don't want it, and couldn't take it.' 

' But do have it ! ' said Bob, in hurt tones, Mrs. 
Garland being all the while on tenter-hooks lest Anne 
should persist in her absurd refusal. 

' Why, there's another reason why you ought to ! ' 
said he, his face lighting up with recollections. ' It 
never came into my head till this moment that I used to 
be your beau in a humble sort of way. Faith, so I did, 
and we used to meet at places sometimes, didn't we ? 
that is, when you were not too proud ; and once I gave 
you, or somebody else, a bit of my hair in fun.' 

' It was somebody else,' said Anne quickly. 

' Ah, perhaps it was,' said Bob innocently. ' But it 
was you I used to meet, or try to, I am sure. Well, I've 
never thought of that boyish time for years till this 
minute ! I am sure you ought to accept some one gift, 
dear, out of compliment to those old times ! ' 

Anne drew back and shook her head, for she would 
not trust her voice. 

'Well, Mrs. Garland, then you shall have it,' said 
Bob, tossing the shawl to that ready receiver. ' If you 
don't, upon my life I will throw it out to the first beggar 
I see. Now, here's a parcel of cap ribbons of the splen- 
didest sort I could get. Have these do, Anne ! ' 

'Yes, do,' said Mrs. Garland. 

' I promised them to Matilda,' continued Bob ; ' but 


I am sure she won't want 'em, as she has got some of 
her own : and I would as soon see them upon your 
head, my dear, as upon hers.' 

' I think you had better keep them for your bride if 
you have promised them to her,' said Mrs. Garland 

' It wasn't exactly a promise. I just said, " Til, 
there's some cap ribbons in my box, if you would like 
to have them." But she's got enough things already 
for any bride in creation. Anne, now you shall have 
'em upon my soul you shall or I'll fling them down 
the mill-tail ! ' 

Anne had meant to be perfectly firm in refusing 
everything, for reasons obvious even to that poor waif, 
the meanest capacity ; but when it came to this point 
she was absolutely compelled to give in, and reluctantly 
received the cap ribbons in her arms, blushing fitfully, 
and with her lip trembling in a motion which she tried 
to exhibit as a smile. 

' What would Tilly say if she knew ! ' said the miller 

' Yes, indeed and it is wrong of him ! ' Anne in- 
stantly cried, tears running down her face as she threw 
the parcel of ribbons on the floor. ' You'd better be- 
stow your gifts where you bestow your 1 1 love, Mr. 
Loveday that's what I say ! ' And Anne turned her 
back and went away. 

' I'll take them for her,' said Mrs. Garland, quickly 
picking up the parcel. 

' Now that's a pity,' said Bob, looking regretfully 
after Anne. ( I didn't remember that she was a quick- 
tempered sort of girl at all. Tell her, Mrs. Garland, 
that I ask her pardon. But of course I didn't know she 
was too proud to accept a little present how should 
I ? Upon my life if it wasn't for Matilda I'd Well, 
that can't be, of course.' 

' What's this ? ' said Mrs. Garland, touching with her 


foot a large package that had been laid down by Bob 

'That's a bit of baccy for myself,' said Robert 

The examination of presents at last ended, and the 
two families parted for the night. When they were 
alone, Mrs. Garland said to Anne, 'What a close girl 
you are! I am sure I never knew that Bob Loveday 
and you had walked together: you must have been 
mere children.' 

' O yes so we were,' said Anne, now quite re- 
covered. 'It was when we first came here, about a 
year after father died. We did not walk together in 
any regular way. You know I have never thought the 
Lovedays high enough for me. It was only just 
nothing at all, and I had almost forgotten it.' 

It is to be hoped that somebody's sins were forgiven 
her that night before she went to bed. 

When Bob and his father were left alone, the miller 
said, ' Well, Robert, about this young woman of thine 
Matilda what's her name ? ' 

' Yes, father Matilda Johnson. I was just going to 
tell ye about her.' 

The miller nodded, and sipped his mug. 

' Well, she is an excellent body,' continued Bob ; ' that 
can truly be said a real charmer, you know a nice good 
comely young woman, a miracle of genteel breeding, you 
know, and all that. She can throw her hair into the 
nicest curls, and she's got splendid gowns and head- 
clothes. In short, you might call her a land mermaid. 
She'll make such a first-rate wife as there never was.' 

' No doubt she will,' said the miller ; ' for I have 
never known thee wanting in sense in a jineral way.' 
He turned his cup round on its axis till the handle had 
travelled a complete circle. ' How long did you say in 
your letter that you had known her ? ' 

' A fortnight.' 



' Not very long.' 

' It don't sound long, 'tis true ; and 'twas really longer 
'twas fifteen days and a quarter. But hang it, father, 
I could see in the twinkling of an eye that the girl would 
do. I know a woman well enough when I see her I 
ought to, indeed, having been so much about the world. 
Now, for instance, there's Widow Garland and her 
daughter. The girl is a nice little thing ; but the old 
woman O no ! ' Bob shook his head. 

' What of her ? ' said his father, slightly shifting in 
his chair. 

'Well, she's, she's I mean, I should never have 
chose her, you know. She's of a nice disposition, and 
young for a widow with a grown-up daughter ; but if all 
the men had been like me she would never have had a 
husband. I like her in some respects ; but she's a style 
of beauty I don't care for.' 

' O, if 'tis only looks you are thinking of,' said the 
miller, much relieved, ' there's nothing to be said, of 
course. Though there's many a duchess worse-looking, 
if it comes to argument, as you would find, my son,' he 
added, with a sense of having been mollified too soon. 

The mate's thoughts were elsewhere by this time. 

' As to my marrying Matilda, thinks I, here's one of 
the very genteelest sort, and I may as well do the job at 
once. So I chose her. She's a dear girl ; there's nobody 
like her, search where you will.' 

' How many did you choose her out from ? ' inquired 
his father. 

' Well, she was the only young woman I happened to 
know in Southampton, that's true. But what of that ? 
It would have been all the same if I had known a 

' Her father is in business near the docks, I suppose ? ' 

' Well, no. In short, I didn't see her father.' 

' Her mother ? ' 

' Her mother ? No, I didn't. I think her mother 


is dead ; but she has got a very rich aunt living at Mel- 
chester. I didn't see her aunt, because there wasn't time 
to go ; but of course we shall know her when we are 

' Yes, yes, of course,' said the miller, trying to feel 
quite satisfied. ' And she will soon be here ? ' 

' Ay, she's coming soon,' said Bob. ' She has gone 
to this aunt's at Melchester to get her things packed, and 
suchlike, or she would have come with me. I am going 
to meet the coach at the King's Arms, Casterbridge, on 
Sunday, at one o'clock. To show what a capital sort 
of wife she'll be, I may tell you that she wanted to come 
by the Mercury, because 'tis a little cheaper than the 
other. But I said, " For once in your life do it well, and 
come by the Royal Mail, and I'll pay." I can have the 
pony and trap to fetch her, I suppose, as 'tis too far for 
her to walk ? ' 

' Of course you can, Bob, or anything else. And 
I'll do all I can to give you a good wedding feast.' 





PREPARATIONS for Matilda's welcome, and for the 
event which was to follow, at once occupied the atten- 
tion of the mill. The miller and his man had but 
dim notions of housewifery on any large scale ; so the 
great wedding cleaning was kindly supervised by Mrs. 
Garland, Bob being mostly away during the day with 
his brother, the trumpet-major, on various errands, one 
of which was to buy paint and varnish for the gig that 
Matilda was to be fetched in, which he had determined 
to decorate with his own hands. 

By the widow's direction the old familiar incrusta- 
tion of shining dirt, imprinted along the back of the 
settle by the heads of countless jolly sitters, was scrubbed 
and scraped away ; the brown circle round the nail 
whereon the miller hung his hat, stained by the brim 
in wet weather, was whitened over ; the tawny smudges 
of bygone shoulders in the passage were removed with- 
out regard to a certain genial and historical value which 
they had acquired. The face of the clock, coated with 
verdigris as thick as a diachylon plaister, was rubbed 
till the figures emerged into day ; while, inside the case 
of the same chronometer, the cobwebs that formed 


triangular hammocks, which the pendulum could hardly 
wade through, were cleared away at one swoop. 

Mrs. Garland also assisted at the invasion of worm- 
eaten cupboards, where layers of ancient smells lingered 
on in the stagnant air, and recalled to the reflective nose 
the many good things that had been kept there. The 
upper floors were scrubbed with such abundance of 
water that the old-established death-watches, wood-lice, 
and flour-worms were all drowned, the suds trickling 
down into the room below in so lively and novel a 
manner as to convey the romantic notion that the miller 
lived in a cave with dripping stalactites. 

They moved what had never been moved before 
the oak coffer, containing the miller's wardrobe a 
tremendous weight, what with its locks, hinges, nails, 
dirt, framework, and the hard stratification of old jackets, 
waistcoats, and knee-breeches at the bottom, never dis- 
turbed since the miller's wife died, and half pulverized 
by the moths, whose flattened skeletons lay amid the 
mass in thousands. 

' It fairly makes my back open and shut ! ' said 
Loveday, as, in obedience to Mrs. Garland's direction, 
he lifted one corner, the grinder and David assisting at 
the others. ' All together : speak when ye be going to 
heave. Now ! ' 

The pot covers and skimmers were brought to such 
a state that, on examining them, the beholder was not 
conscious of utensils, but of his own face in a condition 
of hideous elasticity. The broken clock-line was mended, 
the kettles rocked, the creeper nailed up, and a new 
handle put to the warming-pan. The large household 
lantern was cleaned out, after three years of uninterrupted 
accumulation, the operation yielding a conglomerate of 
candle-snuffs, candle-ends, remains of matches, lamp- 
black, and eleven ounces and a half of good grease 
invaluable as dubbing for skitty boots and ointment 
for cart-wheels. 



Everybody said that the mill residence had not been 
so thoroughly scoured for twenty years. The miller 
and David looked on with a sort of awe tempered by 
gratitude, tacitly admitting by their gaze that this was 
beyond what they had ever thought of. Mrs. Garland 
supervised all with disinterested benevolence. It would 
never have done, she said, for his future daughter-in-law 
to see the house in its original state. She would have 
taken a dislike to him, and perhaps to Bob likewise. 

'Why don't ye come and live here with me, and 
then you would be able to see to it at all times?' 
said the miller as she bustled about again. To which 
she answered that she was considering the matter, and 
might in good time. He had previously informed her 
that his plan was to put Bob and his wife in the part of 
the house that she, Mrs. Garland, occupied, as soon as 
she chose to enter his, which relieved her of any fear of 
being incommoded by Matilda. 

The cooking for the wedding festivities was on a pro- 
portionate scale of thoroughness. They killed the four 
supernumerary chickens that had just begun to crow, 
and the little curly-tailed barrow pig, in preference to 
the sow; not having been put up fattening for more 
than five weeks it was excellent small meat, and there- 
fore more delicate and likely to suit a town-bred lady's 
taste than the large one, which, having reached the 
weight of fourteen score, might have been a little gross 
to a cultured palate. There were also provided a cold 
chine, stuffed veal, and two pigeon pies. Also thirty 
rings of black-pot, a dozen of white-pot, and ten knots 
of tender and well-washed chitterlings, cooked plain, in 
case she should like a change. 

As additional reserves there were sweetbreads, and five 
milts, sewed up at one side in the form of a chrysalis, and 
stuffed with thyme, sage, parsley, mint, groats, rice, milk, 
chopped egg, and other ingredients. They were afterwards 
roasted before a slow fire, and eaten hot. 


The business of chopping so many herbs for the 
various stuffings was found to be aching work for women ; 
and David, the miller, the grinder, and the grinder's boy 
being fully occupied in their proper branches, and Bob 
being very busy painting the gig and touching up the 
harness, Loveday called in a friendly dragoon of John's 
regiment who was passing by, and he, being a muscular 
man, willingly chopped all the afternoon for a quart of 
strong, judiciously administered, and all other victuals 
found, taking off his jacket and gloves, rolling up his 
shirt-sleeves and unfastening his collar in an honourable 
and energetic way. 

All windfalls and maggot-cored codlins were excluded 
from the apple pies ; and as there was no known dish 
large enough for the purpose, the puddings were stirred 
up in the milking-pail, and boiled in the three-legged 
bell-metal crock, of great weight and antiquity, which 
every travelling tinker for the previous thirty years had 
tapped with his stick, coveted, made a bid for, and often 
attempted to steal. 

In the liquor line Loveday laid in an ample barrel of 
Caster bridge ' strong beer.' This renowned drink now 
almost as much a thing of the past as Falstaff s favourite 
beverage was not only well calculated to win the hearts 
of soldiers blown dry and dusty by residence in tents on 
a hill-top, but of any wayfarer whatever in that land. It 
was of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist 
in beer could desire ; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano ; 
piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn 
sunset ; free from streakiness of taste ; but, finally, rather 
heady. The masses worshipped it, the minor gentry 
loved it more than wine, and by the most illustrious 
county families it was not despised. Anybody brought 
up for being drunk and disorderly in the streets of its 
natal borough, had only to prove that he was a stranger 
to the place and its liquor to be honourably dismissed 
by the magistrates, as one overtaken in a fault that 


no man could guard against who entered the town 

In addition, Mr. Loveday also tapped a hogshead of 
fine cider that he had had mellowing in the house for 
several months, having bought it of an honest down- 
country man, who did not colour, for any special occasion 
like the present. It had been pressed from fruit judi- 
diously chosen by an old hand Homer and Cleeves 
apple for the body, a few Tom-Putts for colour, and 
just a dash of Old Five-corners for sparkle a selection 
originally made to please the palate of a well-known 
temperate earl who was a regular cider-drinker, and lived 
to be eighty-eight. 

On the morning of the Sunday appointed for her 
coming Captain Bob Loveday set out to meet his bride. 
He had been all the week engaged in painting the gig, 
assisted by his brother at odd times, and it now appeared 
of a gorgeous yellow, with blue streaks, and tassels at the 
corners, and red wheels outlined with a darker shade. 
He put in the pony at half-past eleven, Anne looking at 
him from the door as he packed himself into the vehicle 
and drove off. There may be young women who look 
out at young men driving to meet their brides as Anne 
looked at Captain Bob, and yet are quite indifferent to 
the circumstances ; but they are not often met with. 

So much dust had been raised on the highway by 
traffic resulting from the presence of the Court at the 
town further on, that brambles hanging from the fence, 
and giving a friendly scratch to the wanderer's face, 
were dingy as church cobwebs ; and the grass on the 
margin had assumed a paper-shaving hue. Bob's father 
had wished him to take David, lest, from want of re- 
cent experience at the whip, he should meet with any 
mishap ; but, picturing to himself the awkwardness of 
three in such circumstances, Bob would not hear of 
this ; and nothing more serious happened to his driving 
than that the wheel-marks formed two serpentine lines 


along the road during the first mile or two, before he 
had got his hand in, and that the horse shied at a 
milestone, a piece of paper, a sleeping tramp, and a 
wheelbarrow, just to make use of the opportunity of 
being in bad hands. 

He entered Casterbridge between twelve and one, 
and, putting up at the Old Greyhound, walked on to 
the Bow. Here, rather dusty on the ledges of his 
clothes, he stood and waited while the people in their 
best summer dresses poured out of the three churches 
round him. When they had all gone, and a smell of 
cinders and gravy had spread down the ancient high- 
street, and the pie-dishes from adjacent bakehouses had 
all travelled past, he saw the mail coach rise above 
the arch of Grey's Bridge, a quarter of a mile distant, 
surmounted by swaying knobs, which proved to be the 
heads of the outside travellers. 

' That's the way for a man's bride to come to him ! ' 
said Robert to himself with a feeling of poetry; and 
as the horn sounded and the horses clattered up the 
street he walked down to the inn. The knot of hostlers 
and inn-servants had gathered, the horses were dragged 
from the vehicle, and the passengers for Casterbridge 
began to descend. Captain Bob eyed them over, looked 
inside, looked outside again; to his disappointment 
Matilda was not there, nor her boxes, nor anything that 
was hers. Neither coachman nor guard had seen or 
heard of such a person at Melchester ; and Bob walked 
slowly away. 

Depressed by forebodings to an extent which took 
away nearly a third of his appetite, he sat down in the 
parlour of the Old Greyhound to a slice from the family 
joint of the landlord. This gentleman, who dined in 
his shirt- sleeves, partly because it was August, and 
partly from a sense that they would not be so fit for 
public view further on in the week, suggested that Bob 
should wait till three or four that afternoon, when the 


road- waggon would arrive, as the lost lady might have 
preferred that mode of conveyance ; and when Bob 
appeared rather hurt at the suggestion, the landlord's 
wife assured him, as a woman who knew good life, that 
many genteel persons travelled in that way during the 
present high price of provisions. Loveday, who knew 
little of travelling by land, readily accepted her assurance 
and resolved to wait. 

Wandering up and down the pavement, or leaning 
against some hot wall between the waggon-office and 
the corner of the street above, he passed the time away. 
It was a still, sunny, drowsy afternoon, and scarcely a 
soul was visible in the length and breadth of the street. 
The office was not far from All Saints' Church, and 
the church-windows being open, he could hear the after- 
noon service from where he lingered as distinctly as if 
he had been one of the congregation. Thus he was 
mentally conducted through the Psalms, through the 
first and second lessons, through the burst of fiddles 
and clarionets which announced the evening-hymn, and 
well into the sermon, before any signs of the waggon 
could be seen upon the London road. 

The afternoon sermons at this church being of a dry 
and metaphysical nature at that date, it was by a special 
providence that the waggon-office was placed near the 
ancient fabric, so that whenever the Sunday waggon was 
late, which it always was in hot weather, in cold weather, 
in wet weather, and in weather of almost every other 
sort, the rattle, dismounting, and swearing outside com- 
pletely drowned the parson's voice within, and sustained 
the flagging interest of the congregation at precisely 
the right moment. No sooner did the charity children 
begin to writhe on their benches, and adult snores grow 
audible, than the waggon arrived. 

Captain Loveday felt a kind of sinking in his poetry 
at the possibility of her for whom they had made such 
preparations being in the slow, unwieldy vehicle which 


crunched its way towards him ; but he would not give 
in to the weakness. Neither would he walk down 
the street to meet the waggon, lest she should not 
be there. At last the broad wheels drew up against 
the kerb, the waggoner with his white smock-frock, and 
whip as long as a fishing-line, descended from the pony 
on which he rode alongside, and the six broad-chested 
horses backed from their collars and shook themselves. 
In another moment something showed forth, and he 
knew that Matilda was there. 

Bob felt three cheers rise within him as she stepped 
down ; but it being Sunday he did not utter them. In 
dress, Miss Johnson passed his expectations a green 
and white gown, with long, tight sleeves, a green silk 
handkerchief round her neck and crossed in front, a 
green parasol, and green gloves. It was strange enough 
to see this verdant caterpillar turn out of a road- 
waggon, and gracefully shake herself free from the bits 
of straw and fluff which would usually gather on the 
raiment of the grandest travellers by that vehicle. 

' But, my dear Matilda,' said Bob, when he had 
kissed her three times with much publicity the prac- 
tical step he had determined on seeming to demand 
that these things should no longer be done in a corner 
' my dear Matilda, why didn't you come by the coach, 
having the money for't and all ? ' 

' That's my scrimping ! ' said Matilda in a delightful 
gush. ' I know you won't be offended when you know 
I did it to save against a rainy day ! ' 

Bob, of course, was not offended, though the glory 
of meeting her had been less ; and even if vexation were 
possible, it would have been out of place to say so. 
Still, he would have experienced no little surprise had 
he learnt the real reason of his Matilda's change of plan. 
That angel had, in short, so wildly spent Bob's and her 
own money in the adornment of her person before 
setting out, that she found herself without a sufficient 
145 K 


margin for her fare by coach, and had scrimped from 
sheer necessity. 

' Well, I have got the trap out at the Greyhound,' 
said Bob. ' I don't know whether it will hold your 
luggage and us too ; but it looked more respectable than 
the waggon on a Sunday, and if there's not room for the 
boxes I can walk alongside.' 

' I think there will be room,' said Miss Johnson 
mildly. And it was soon very evident that she spoke 
the truth ; for when her property was deposited on the 
pavement, it consisted of a trunk about eighteen inches 
long, and nothing more. 

' O that's all ! ' said Captain Loveday, surprised. 

' That's all,' said the young woman assuringly. ' I 
didn't want to give trouble, you know, and what I have 
besides I have left at my aunt's.' 

' Yes, of course,' he answered readily. ' And as it's 
no bigger, I can carry it in my hand to the inn, and so it 
will be no trouble at all.' 

He caught up the little box, and they went side by 
side to the Greyhound; and in ten minutes they were 
trotting up the Southern Road. 

Bob did not hurry the horse, there being many things 
to say and hear, for which the present situation was 
admirably suited. The sun shone occasionally into 
Matilda's face as they drove on, its rays picking out all 
her features to a great nicety. Her eyes would have 
been called brown, but they were really eel-colour, like 
many other nice brown eyes ; they were well-shaped and 
rather bright, though they had more of a broad shine 
than a sparkle. She had a firm, sufficient nose, which 
seemed to say of itself that it was good as noses go. 
She had rather a picturesque way of wrapping her upper 
in her lower lip, so that the red of the latter showed 
strongly. Whenever she gazed against the sun towards 
the distant hills, she brought into her forehead, without 
knowing it, three short vertical lines not there at 


other times giving her for the moment rather a hard 
look. And in turning her head round to a far angle, 
to stare at something or other that he pointed out, 
the drawn flesh of her neck became a mass of lines. 
But Bob did not look at these things, which, of course, 
were of no significance; for had she not told him, 
when they compared ages, that she was a little over 
two-and-twenty ? 

As Nature was hardly invented at this early point of 
the century, Bob's Matilda could not say much about the 
glamour of the hills, or the shimmering of the foliage, or 
the wealth of glory in the distant sea, as she would 
doubtless have done had she lived later on ; but she 
did her best to be interesting, asking Bob about matters 
of social interest in the neighbourhood, to which she 
seemed quite a stranger. 

' Is your watering-place a large city ? ' she inquired 
when they mounted the hill where the Over com be folk 
had waited for the King. 

' Bless you, my dear no ! 'Twould be nothing if it 
wasn't for the Royal Family, and the lords and ladies, 
and the regiments of soldiers, and the frigates, and the 
King's messengers, and the actors and actresses, and the 
games that go on.' 

At the words 'actors and actresses,' the innocent 
young thing pricked up her ears. 

' Does Elliston pay as good salaries this summer as 
in ?' 

' O, you know about it then ? I thought- 

' O no, no ! I have heard of Budmouth read in 
the papers, you know, dear Robert, about the doings 
there, and the actors and actresses, you know.' 

'Yes, yes, I see. Well, I have been away from 
England a long time, and don't know much about the 
theatre in the' town ; but I'll take you there some day. 
Would it be a treat to you ? ' 

' O, an amazing treat ! ' said Miss Johnson, with an 


ecstasy in which a close observer might have discovered 
a tinge of ghastliness. 

' You've never been into one perhaps, dear ? ' 

' N never,' said Matilda flatly. ' Whatever do I see 
yonder a row of white things on the down ? ' 

'Yes, that's a part of the encampment above Over- 
combe. Lots of soldiers are encamped about here; 
those are the white tops of their tents.' 

He pointed to a wing of the camp that had become 
visible. Matilda was much interested. 

' It will make it very lively for us,' he added, ' espe- 
cially as John is there.' 

She thought so too, and thus they chatted on. 




MEANWHILE Miller Loveday was expecting the pair 
with interest ; and about five o'clock, after repeated out- 
looks, he saw two specks the size of caraway seeds on the 
far line of ridge where the sunlit white of the road met the 
blue of the sky. Then the remainder parts of Bob and his 
lady became visible, and then the whole vehicle, end on, 
and he heard the dry rattle of the wheels on the dusty road. 
Miller Loveday's plan, as far as he had formed any, was 
that Robert and his wife should live with him in the mill- 
house until Mrs. Garland made up her mind to join him 
there ; in which event her present house would be made 
over to the young couple. Upon all grounds, he wished 
to welcome becomingly the woman of his son's choice, and 
came forward promptly as they drew up at the door. 

' What a lovely place you've got here ! ' said Miss 
Johnson, when the miller had received her from the 
captain. ' A real stream of water, a real mill-wheel, and 
real fowls, and everything ! ' 

' Yes, 'tis real enough,' said Loveday, looking at the 
river with balanced sentiments; 'and so you will say 
when you've lived here a bit as mis'ess, and had the 
trouble of claning the furniture.' 


At this Miss Johnson looked modest, and continued 
to do so till Anne, not knowing they were there, came 
round the corner of the house, with her prayer-book in 
her hand, having just arrived from church. Bob turned 
and smiled to her, at which Miss Johnson looked glum. 
How long she would have remained in that phase is 
unknown, for just then her ears were assailed by a loud 
bass note from the other side, causing her to jump round. 

' O la ! what dreadful thing is it ? ' she exclaimed, 
and beheld a cow of Loveday's, of the name of Grumpier, 
standing close to her shoulder. It being about milking- 
time, she had come to look up David and hasten on the 

' O, what a horrid bull ! it did frighten me so. I 
hope I shan't faint,' said Matilda. 

The miller immediately used the formula which has 
been uttered by the proprietors of live stock ever since 
Noah's time. ' She won't hurt ye. Hoosh, Grumpier ! 
She's as timid as a mouse, ma'am.' 

But as Grumpier persisted in making another terrific 
inquiry for David, Matilda could not help closing her 
eyes and saying, ' O, I shall be gored to death ! ' her 
head falling back upon Bob's shoulder, which seeing 
the urgent circumstances, and knowing her delicate 
nature he had providentially placed in a position to 
catch her. Anne Garland, who had been standing at 
the corner of the house, not knowing whether to go 
back or come on, at this felt her womanly sympathies 
aroused. She ran and dipped her handkerchief into the 
splashing mill-tail, and with it damped Matilda's face. 
But as her eyes still remained closed, Bob, to increase 
the effect, took the handkerchief from Anne and wrung 
it out on the bridge of Matilda's nose, whence it ran 
over the rest of her face in a stream. 

' O, Captain Loveday ! ' said Anne, ' the water is 
running over her green silk handkerchief, and into her 
pretty reticule ! ' 


4 There if I didn't think so ! ' exclaimed Matilda, 
opening her eyes, starting up, and promptly pulling out 
her own handkerchief, with which she wiped away the 
drops, and an unimportant trifle of her complexion, 
assisted by Anne, who, in spite of her background of 
antagonistic emotions, could not help being interested. 

'That's right!' said the miller, his spirits reviving 
with the revival of Matilda. ' The lady is not used to 
country life ; are you, ma'am ? ' 

4 I am not,' replied the sufferer. 4 All is so strange 
about here ! ' 

Suddenly there spread into the firmament, from the 
direction of the down : 

' Ra, ta, ta ! Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta ! Ra, ta, ta ! ' 

'O dear, dear! more hideous country sounds, I 
suppose ? ' she inquired, with another start. 

4 O no,' said the miller cheerfully. 4 'Tis only my 
son John's trumpeter chaps at the camp of dragoons 
just above us, a-blowing Mess, or Feed, or Picket, or 
some other of their vagaries. John will be much pleased 
to tell you the meaning on't when he comes down. He's 
trumpet-major, as you may know, ma'am.' 

' O yes ; you mean Captain Loveday's brother. Dear 
Bob has mentioned him.' 

4 If you come round to Widow Garland's side of the 
house, you can see the camp,' said the mille'r. 

4 Don't force her ; she's tired with her long journey,' 
said Mrs. Garland humanely, the widow having come 
out in the general wish to see Captain Bob's choice. 
Indeed, they all behaved towards her as if she were a 
tender exotic, which their crude country manners might 
seriously injure. 

She went into the house, accompanied by Mrs. 
Garland and her daughter; though before leaving Bob 
she managed to whisper in his ear, 4 Don't tell them I 
IS 1 


came by waggon, will you, dear ? ' a request which was 
quite needless, for Bob had long ago determined to keep 
that a dead secret; not because it was an uncommon 
mode of travel, but simply that it was hardly the usual 
conveyance for a gorgeous lady to her bridal. 

As the men had a feeling that they would be super- 
fluous indoors just at present, the miller assisted David 
in taking the horse round to the stables, Bob following, 
and leaving Matilda to the women. Indoors, Miss 
Johnson admired everything : the new parrots and mar- 
mosets, the black beams of the ceiling, the double-corner 
cupboard with the glass doors, through which gleamed 
the remainders of sundry china sets acquired by Bob's 
mother in her housekeeping two-handled sugar-basins, 
no-handled tea-cups, a tea-pot like a pagoda, and a 
cream-jug in the form of a spotted cow. This sociability 
in their visitor was returned by Mrs. Garland and Anne ; 
and Miss Johnson's pleasing habit of partly dying 
whenever she heard any unusual bark or bellow added 
to her piquancy in their eyes. But conversation, as 
such, was naturally at first of a nervous, tentative kind, 
in which, as in the works of some minor poets, the sense 
was considerably led by the sound. 

' You get the sea-breezes here, no doubt ? ' 

' O yes, dear ; when the wind is that way.' 

' Do you like windy weather ? ' 

' Yes ; though not now, for it blows down the young 

'Apples are plentiful, it seems. You country-folk 
call St. Swithin's their christening day, if it rains ? ' 

' Yes, dear. Ah me ! I have not been to a christening 
for these many years; the baby's name was George, I 
remember after the King.' 

' I hear that King George is still staying at the town 
here. I hope he'll stay till I have seen him ! ' 

' He'll wait till the corn turns yellow ; he always 



' How very fashionable yellow is getting for gloves 
just now ! ' 

' Yes. Some persons wear them to the elbow, I 

' Do they ? I was not aware of that. I struck my 
elbow last week so hard against the door of my aunt's 
mansion that I feel the ache now.' 

Before they were quite overwhelmed by the interest 
of this discourse, the miller and Bob came in. In truth, 
Mrs. Garland found the office in which he had placed 
her that of introducing a strange woman to a house 
which was not the widow's own a rather awkward one, 
and yet almost a necessity. There was no woman 
belonging to the house except that wondrous com- 
pendium of usefulness, the intermittent maid-servant, 
whom Loveday had, for appearances, borrowed from Mrs. 
Garland, and Mrs. Garland was in the habit of borrowing 
from the girl's mother. And as for the demi-woman 
David, he had been informed as peremptorily as Pharaoh's 
baker that the office of housemaid and bedmaker was 
taken from him, and would be given to this girl till the 
wedding was over, and Bob's wife took the management 
into her own hands. 

They all sat down to high tea, Anne and her mother 
included, and the captain sitting next to Miss Johnson. 
Anne had put a brave face upon the matter outwardly, 
at least and seemed in a fair way of subduing any 
lingering sentiment which Bob's return had revived. 
During the evening, and while they still sat over the 
meal, John came down on a hurried visit, as he had 
promised, ostensibly on purpose to be introduced to 
his intended sister-in-law, but much more to get a word 
and a smile from his beloved Anne. Before they saw 
him, they heard the trumpet-major's smart step coming 
round the corner of the house, and in a moment his 
form darkened the door. As it was Sunday, he ap- 
peared in his full-dress laced coat, white waistcoat and 


breeches, and towering plume, the latter of which he 
instantly lowered, as much from necessity as good 
manners, the beam in the mill-house ceiling having a 
tendency to smash and ruin all such head-gear without 

' John, we've been hoping you would come down,' 
said the miller, 'and so we have kept the tay about 
on purpose. Draw up, and speak to Mrs. Matilda 
Johnson. . . . Ma'am, this is Robert's brother.' 

1 Your humble servant, ma'am,' said the trumpet- 
major gallantly. 

As it was getting dusk in the low, small-paned room, 
he instinctively moved towards Miss Johnson as he 
spoke, who sat with her back to the window. He had 
no sooner noticed her features than his helmet nearly 
fell from his hand; his face became suddenly fixed, 
and his natural complexion took itself off, leaving a 
greenish yellow in its stead. The young person, on 
her part, had no sooner looked closely at him than she 
said weakly, ' Robert's brother ! ' and changed colour 
yet more rapidly than the soldier had done. The faint- 
ness, previously half counterfeit, seized on her now in 
real earnest. 

' I don't feel well,' she said, suddenly rising by an 
effort. ' This warm day has quite upset me ! ' 

There was a regular collapse of the tea-party, like 
that of the Hamlet play scene. Bob seized his sweet- 
heart and carried her upstairs, the miller exclaiming, 
' Ah, she's terribly worn by the journey ! I thought 
she was when I saw her nearly go off at the blare of 
the cow. No woman would have been frightened at 
that if she'd been up to her natural strength.' 

' That, and being so very shy of men, too, must 
have made John's handsome regimentals quite over- 
powering to her, poor thing ! ' added Mrs. Garland, 
following the catastrophic young lady upstairs, whose 
indisposition was this time beyond question. And yet, 


by some perversity of the heart, she was as eager now 
to make light of her faintness as she had been to make 
much of it two or three hours ago. 

The miller and John stood like straight sticks in 
the room the others had quitted, John's face being 
hastily turned towards a caricature of Buonaparte on 
the wall that he had not seen more than a hundred 
and fifty times before. 

' Come, sit down and have a dish of tea, anyhow,' 
said his father at last. ' She'll soon be right again, 
no doubt.' 

' Thanks ; I don't want any tea,' said John quickly. 
And, indeed, he did not, for he was in one gigantic ache 
from head to foot. 

The light had been too dim for anybody to notice 
his amazement ; and not knowing where to vent it, the 
trumpet-major said he was going out for a minute. He 
hastened to the bakehouse ; but David being there, he 
went to the pantry ; but the maid being there, he went 
to the cart-shed; but a couple of tramps being there, 
he went behind a row of French beans in the garden, 
where he let off an ejaculation the most pious that he 
had uttered that Sabbath day : ' Heaven ! what's to be 
done ! ' 

And then he walked wildly about the paths of the 
dusky garden, where the trickling of the brooks seemed 
loud by comparison with the stillness around ; treading 
recklessly on the cracking snails that had come forth 
to feed, and entangling his spurs in the long grass till 
the rowels were choked with its blades. Presently he 
heard another person approaching, and his brother's 
shape appeared between the stubbard tree and the 

' O, is it you ? ' said the mate. 

' Yes. I am taking a little air.' 

' She is getting round nicely again ; and as I am 
not wanted indoors just now, I am going into the 


village to call upon a friend or two I have not been 
able to speak to as yet.' 

John took his brother Bob's hand. Bob rather 
wondered why. 

'All right, old boy,' he said. 'Going into the 
village? You'll be back again, I suppose, before it 
gets very late ? ' 

' O yes,' said Captain Bob cheerfully, and passed out 
of the garden. 

John allowed his eyes to follow his brother till his 
shape could not be seen, and then he turned and again 
walked up and down. 





J OHN continued his sad and heavy pace till walking 
seemed too old and worn-out a way of showing sorrow so 
new, and he leant himself against the fork of an apple- 
tree like a log. There the trumpet-major remained for 
a considerable time, his face turned towards the house, 
whose ancient, many-chimneyed outline rose against the 
darkened sky, and just shut out from his view the camp 
above. But faint noises coming thence from horses rest- 
less at the pickets, and from visitors taking their leave, 
recalled its existence, and reminded him that, in conse- 
quence of Matilda's arrival, he had obtained leave for the 
night a fact which, owing to the startling emotions that 
followed his entry, he had not yet mentioned to his 

While abstractedly considering how he could best use 
that privilege under the new circumstances which had 
arisen, he heard Farmer Derriman drive up to the front 
door and hold a conversation with his father. The old 
man had at last apparently brought the tin box of pri- 
vate papers that he wished the miller to take charge of 
during Derriman's absence; and it being a calm night, 
John could hear, though he little heeded, Uncle Benjy's 


reiterated supplications to Loveday to keep it safe from 
fire and thieves. Then Uncle Benjy left, and John's 
father went upstairs to deposit the box in a place of 
security, the whole proceeding reaching John's preoccu- 
pied comprehension merely as voices during sleep. 

The next thing was the appearance of a light in the 
bedroom which had been assigned to Matilda Johnson. 
This effectually aroused the trumpet-major, and with a 
stealthiness unusual in him he went indoors. No light 
was in the lower rooms, his father, Mrs. Garland, and 
Anne having gone out on the bridge to look at the new 
moon. John went upstairs on tip-toe, and along the 
uneven passage till he came to her door. It was standing 
ajar, a band of candlelight shining across the passage and 
up the opposite wall. As soon as he entered the radi- 
ance he saw her. She was standing before the looking- 
glass, apparently lost in thought, her fingers being clasped 
behind her head in abstraction, and the light falling full 
upon her face. 

' I must speak to you,' said the trumpet-major. 

She started, turned and grew paler than before ; and 
then, as if moved by a sudden impulse, she swung the 
door wide open, and, coming out, said quite collectedly 
and with apparent pleasantness, ' O yes ; you are my 
Bob's brother ! I didn't, for a moment, recognize you.' 

' But you do now ? ' 

' As Bob's brother.' 

' You have not seen me before ? ' 

' I have not,' she answered, with a face as impassible 
as Talleyrand's. 

< Good God ! ' 

' I have not ! ' she repeated. 

' Nor any of the th Dragoons ? Captain Jolly, 
for instance ? ' 


'You mistake; I'll remind you of particulars,' he 
said drily. And he did remind her at some length. 


' Never ! ' she said desperately. 

But she had miscalculated her staying powers, and 
her adversary's character. Five minutes after that she 
was in tears, and the conversation had resolved itself 
into words, which, on the soldier's part, were of the 
nature of commands, tempered by pity, and were a mere 
series of entreaties on hers. 

The whole scene did not last ten minutes. When it 
was over, the trumpet-major walked from the doorway 
where they had been standing, and brushed moisture from 
his eyes. Reaching a dark lumber-room, he stood still 
there to calm himself, and then descended by a Flemish- 
ladder to the bakehouse, instead of by the front stairs. 
He found that the others, including Bob, had gathered in 
the parlour during his absence and lighted the candles. 

Miss Johnson, having sent down some time before 
John re-entered the house to say that she would prefer 
to keep her room that evening, was not expected to join 
them, and on this account Bob showed less than his 
customary liveliness. The miller wishing to keep up 
his son's spirits, expressed his regret that, it being Sunday 
night, they could have no songs to make the evening 
cheerful ; when Mrs. Garland proposed that they should 
sing psalms which, by choosing lively tunes and not 
thinking of the words, would be almost as good as 

This they did, the trumpet-major appearing to join 
in with the rest ; but as a matter of fact no sound came 
from his moving lips. His mind was in such a state 
that he derived no pleasure even from Anne Garland's 
presence, though he held a corner of the same book 
with her, and was treated in a winsome way which it 
was not her usual practice to indulge in. She saw that 
his mind was clouded, and, far from guessing the reason 
why, was doing her best to clear it. 

At length the Garlands found that it was the hour 
for them to leave, and John Loveday at the same time 


wished his father and Bob good-night, and went as far 
as Mrs. Garland's door with her. 

He had said not a word to show that he was free to 
remain out of camp, for the reason that there was painful 
work to be done, which it would be best to do in secret 
and alone. He lingered near the house till its reflected 
window-lights ceased to glimmer upon the mill-pond, 
and all within the dwelling was dark and still. Then 
he entered the garden and waited there till the back 
door opened, and a woman's figure timorously came for- 
ward. John Loveday at once went up to her, and they 
began to talk in low yet dissentient tones. 

They had conversed about ten minutes, and were 
parting as if they had come to some painful arrangement, 
Miss Johnson sobbing bitterly, when a head stealthily 
arose above the dense hedgerow, and in a moment a 
shout burst from its owner. 

' Thieves ! thieves ! my tin box ! thieves ! thieves ! ' 

Matilda vanished into the house, and John Loveday 
hastened to the hedge. ' For heaven's sake, hold your 
tongue, Mr. Derriman ! ' he exclaimed. 

' My tin box ! ' said Uncle Benjy. ' O, only the 
trumpet-major ! ' 

' Your box is safe enough, I assure you. It was 
only ' here the trumpet-major gave vent to an artificial 
laugh ' only a sly bit of courting, you know.' 

' Ha, ha, I see ! ' said the relieved old squireen. 
' Courting Miss Anne ! Then you've ousted my nephew, 
trumpet-major ! Well, so much the better. As for my- 
self, the truth on't is that I haven't been able to go to 
bed easy, for thinking that possibly your father might 
not take care of what I put under his charge ; and at 
last I thought I would just step over and see if all was 
safe here before I turned in. And when I saw your two 
shapes 'my poor nerves magnified ye to housebreakers, 
and Boneys, and I don't know what all.' 

'You have alarmed the house,' said the trumpet- 


major, hearing the clicking of flint and steel in his 
father's bedroom, followed in a moment by the rise of 
a light in the window of the same apartment. 'You 
have got me into difficulty,' he added gloomily, as his 
father opened the casement. 

' I am sorry for that,' said Uncle Benjy. ' But step 
back ; I'll put it all right again.' 

' What, for heaven's sake, is the matter ? ' said the 
miller, his tasselled nightcap appearing in the opening. 

' Nothing, nothing ! ' said the farmer. ' I was uneasy 
about my few bonds and documents, and I walked this 
way, miller, before going to bed, as I start from home 
to-morrow morning. When I came down by your 
garden-hedge, I thought I saw thieves, but it turned 
out to be to be ' 

Here a lump of earth from the trumpet-major's hand 
struck Uncle Benjy in the back as a reminder. 

' To be the bough of a cherry-tree a- waving in the 
wind. Good-night.' 

' No thieves are like to try my house,' said Miller 
Loveday. ' Now don't you come alarming us like this 
again, farmer, or you shall keep your box yourself, begging 
your pardon for saying so. Good-night t' ye ! ' 

' Miller, will ye just look, since I am here just look 
and see if the box is all right ? there's a good man ! I 
am old, you know, and my poor remains are not what 
my original self was. Look and see if it is where you 
put it, there's a good, kind man.' 

' Very well,' said the miller good-humouredly. 

' Neighbour Loveday ! on second thoughts I will take 
my box home again, after all, if you don't mind. You 
won't deem it ill of me ? I have no suspicion, of course ; 
but now I think on't there's rivalry between my nephew 
and your son ; and if Festus should take it into his head 
to set your house on fire in his enmity, ' bad 
for my deeds and documents. No offence, miller, but 
I'll take the box, if you don't mind.' 

161 L 


'Faith! I don't mind,' said Loveday. 'But your 
nephew had better think twice before he lets his enmity 
take that colour.' Receding from the window, he took 
the candle to a back part of the room and soon re- 
appeared with the tin box. 

' I won't trouble ye to dress,' said Derriman consi- 
derately ; ' let en down by anything you have at hand.' 

The box was lowered by a cord, and the old man 
clasped it in his arms. ' Thank ye ! ' he said with heart- 
felt gratitude. ' Good-night ! ' 

The miller replied and closed the window, and the 
light went out. 

' There, now I hope you are satisfied, sir ? ' said the 

' Quite, quite ! ' said Derriman ; and, leaning on his 
walking-stick, he pursued his lonely way. 

That night Anne lay awake in her bed, musing on 
the traits of the new friend who had come to her 
neighbour's house. She would not be critical, it was 
ungenerous and wrong ; but she could not help thinking 
of what interested her. And were there, she silently 
asked, in Miss Johnson's mind and person such rare 
qualities as placed that lady altogether beyond com- 
parison with herself? O yes, there must be; for had 
not Captain Bob singled out Matilda from among all 
other women, herself included? Of course, with his 
world-wide experience, he knew best. 

When the moon had set, and only the summer stars 
threw their light into the great damp garden, she fancied 
that she heard voices in that direction. Perhaps they 
were the voices of Bob and Matilda taking a lover's 
walk before retiring. If so, how sleepy they would be 
next day, and how absurd it was of Matilda to pretend 
she was tired ! Ruminating in this way, and saying to 
herself that she hoped they would be happy, Anne 
fell asleep. 




PARTLY from the excitement of having his Matilda 
under the paternal roof, Bob rose next morning as 
early as his father and the grinder, and, when the big 
wheel began to patter and the little ones to mumble in re- 
sponse, went to sun himself outside the mill-front, among 
the fowls of brown and speckled kinds which haunted 
that spot, and the ducks that came up from the mill-tail. 

Standing on the worn-out mill-stone inlaid in the 
gravel, he talked with his father on various improve- 
ments of the premises, and on the proposed arrange- 
ments for his permanent residence there, with an 
enjoyment that was half based upon this prospect of 
the future, and half on the penetrating warmth of the 
sun to his back and shoulders. Then the different 
troops of horses began their morning scramble down to 
the mill-pond, and, after making it very muddy round 
the edge, ascended the slope again. The bustle of the 
camp grew more and more audible, and presently David 
came to say that breakfast was ready. 

' Is Miss Johnson downstairs ? ' said the miller ; and 
Bob listened for the answer, looking at a blue sentinel 
aloft on the down. 



' Not yet, maister,' said the excellent David. 

1 We'll wait till she's down,' said Loveday. When 
she is, let us know.' 

David went indoors again, and Loveday and Bob 
continued their morning survey by ascending into the 
mysterious quivering recesses of the mill, and holding 
a discussion over a second pair of burr-stones, which 
had to be re-dressed before they could be used again. 
This and similar things occupied nearly twenty minutes, 
and, looking from the window, the elder of the two 
was reminded of the time of day by seeing Mrs. Gar- 
land's table-cloth fluttering from her back door over 
the heads of a flock of pigeons that had alighted for 
the crumbs. 

' I suppose David can't find us,' he said, with a 
sense of hunger that was not altogether strange to Bob. 
He put out his head and shouted. 

1 The lady is not down yet,' said his man in reply. 

' No hurry, no hurry,' said the miller, with cheerful 
emptiness. ' Bob, to pass the time we'll look into the 

1 She'll get up sooner than this, you know, when 
she's signed articles and got a berth here,' Bob observed 

' Yes, yes,' said Loveday ; and they descended into 
the garden. 

Here they turned over sundry flat stones and killed 
the slugs sheltered beneath them from the coming heat 
of the day, talking of slugs in all their branches of the 
brown and the black, of the tough and the tender, of 
the reason why there were so many in the garden that 
year, of the coming time when the grass-walks harbour- 
ing them were to be taken up and gravel laid, and of 
the relatively exterminatory merits of a pair of scissors 
and the heel of the shoe. At last the miller said, 
' Well, really, Bob, I'm hungry ; we must begin with- 
out her.' 



They were about to go in, when David appeared 
with haste in his motions, his eyes wider vertically than 
crosswise, and his cheeks nearly all gone. 

' Maister, I've been to call her ; and as 'a didn't 
speak I rapped, and as 'a didn't answer I kicked, and 
not being latched the door opened, and she's gone ! ' 

Bob went off like a swallow towards the house, and 
the miller followed like the rather heavy man that he 
was. That Miss Matilda was not in her room, or a 
scrap of anything belonging to her, was soon apparent. 
They searched every place in which she could possibly 
hide or squeeze herself, every place in which she could 
not, but found nothing at all. 

Captain Bob was quite wild with astonishment and 
grief. When he was quite sure that she was nowhere 
in his father's house, he ran into Mrs. Garland's, and 
telling them the story so hastily that they hardly under- 
stood the particulars, he went on towards Comfort's 
house, intending to raise the alarm there, and also at 
Mitchell's, Beach's, Cripplestraw's, the parson's, the 
clerk's, the camp of dragoons, of hussars, and so on 
through the whole county. But he paused, and thought 
it would be hardly expedient to publish his discom- 
fiture in such a way. If Matilda had left the house 
for any freakish reason he would not care to look for 
her, and if her deed had a tragic intent she would 
keep aloof from camp and village. 

In his trouble he thought of Anne. She was a nice 
girl and could be trusted. To her he went, and found 
her in a state of excitement and anxiety which equalled 
his own. 

' 'Tis so lonely to cruise for her all by myself ! ' said 
Bob disconsolately, his forehead all in wrinkles ; ' and 
I've thought you would come with me and cheer the 

' Where shall we search ? ' said Anne. 

' O, in the holes of rivers, you know, and down wells, 


and in quarries, and over cliffs, and like that. Your 
eyes might catch the loom of any bit of a shawl or bonnet 
that I should overlook, and it would do me a real service. 
Please do come ! ' 

So Anne took pity upon him, and put on her hat and 
went, the miller and David having gone off in another 
direction. They examined the ditches of fields, Bob 
going round by one fence and Anne by the other, till 
they met at the opposite side. Then they peeped under 
culverts, into outhouses, and down old wells and quarries, 
till the theory of a tragical end had nearly spent its force 
in Bob's mind, and he began to think that Matilda had 
simply run away. However, they still walked on, though 
by this time the sun was hot and Anne would gladly 
have sat down. 

' Now, didn't you think highly of her, Miss Garland ? ' 
he inquired, as the search began to languish. 

' O yes,' said Anne ; ' very highly.' 

' She was really beautiful ; no nonsense about her 
looks, was there ? ' 

' None. Her beauty was thoroughly ripe not too 
young. We should all have got to love her. What can 
have possessed her to go away ? ' 

' I don't know, and, upon my life, I shall soon be 
drove to say I don't care ! ' replied the mate despair- 
ingly. ' Let me pilot ye down over those stones,' he 
added, as Anne began to descend a rugged quarry. He 
stepped forward, leapt down, and turned to her. 

She gave him her hand and sprang down. Before he 
relinquished his hold, Captain Bob raised her fingers to 
his lips and kissed them. 

' O, Captain Loveday ! ' cried Anne, snatching away 
her hand in genuine dismay, while a tear rose unex- 
pectedly to each eye. ' I never heard of such a thing ! 
I won't go an inch further with you, sir ; it is too bare- 
faced ! ' And she turned and ran off. 

' Upon my life I didn't mean it ! ' said the repentant 


captain, hastening after. ' I do love her best indeed I 
do and I don't love you at all ! I am not so fickle as 
that ! I merely just for the moment admired you as a 
sweet little craft, and that's how I came to do it. You 
know, Miss Garland,' he continued earnestly, and still 
running after, ' 'tis like this : when you come ashore 
after having been shut up in a ship for eighteen months, 
women-folks seem so new and nice that you can't help 
liking them, one and all in a body; and so your heart 
is apt to get scattered and to yaw a bit ; but of course I 
think of poor Matilda most, and shall always stick to 
her.' He heaved a sigh of tremendous magnitude, to 
show beyond the possibility of doubt that his heart was 
still in the place that honour required. 

' I am glad to hear that of course I am very glad ! ' 
said she, with quick petulance, keeping her face turned 
from him. ' And I hope we shall find her, and that the 
wedding will not be put off, and that you'll both be 
happy. But I won't look for her any more ! No ; I 
don't care to look for her and my head aches. I am 
going home ! ' 

' And so am I,' said Robert promptly. 

' No, no ; go on looking for her, of course all the 
afternoon, and all night. I am sure you will, if you 
love her.' 

' O yes ; I mean to. Still, I ought to convoy you 
home first ? ' 

' No, you ought not ; and I shall not accept your 
company. Good-morning, sir ! ' And she went off over 
one of the stone stiles with which the spot abounded, 
leaving the friendly sailor standing in the field. 

He sighed again, and, observing the camp not far off, 
thought he would go to his brother John and ask him 
his opinion on the sorrowful case. On reaching the 
tents he found that John was not at liberty just at that 
time, being engaged in practising the trumpeters; and 
leaving word that he wished the trumpet-major to come. 


down to the mill as soon as possible, Bob went back 

"Tis no good looking for her,' he said gloomily. 
' She liked me well enough, but when she came here and 
saw the house, and the place, and the old horse, and the 
plain furniture, she was disappointed to find us all so 
homely, and felt she didn't care to marry into such a 
family ! ' 

His father and David had returned with no news. 
{ Yes, 'tis as I've been thinking, father,' Bob said. ' We 
weren't good enough for her, and she went away in 
scorn ! ' 

' Well, that can't be helped,' said the miller. ' What 
we be, we be, and have been for generations. To my 
mind she seemed glad enough to get hold of us ! ' 

' Yes, yes for the moment because of the flowers, 
and birds, and what's pretty in the place,' said Bob 
tragically. ' But you don't know, father how should 
you know, who have hardly been out of Overcombe in 
your life ? you don't know what delicate feelings are in 
a real refined woman's mind. Any little vulgar action 
unreaves their nerves like a marline-spike. Now I 
wonder if you did anything to disgust her ? ' 

' Faith ! not that I know of,' said Loveday, reflecting. 
' I didn't say a single thing that I should naturally have 
said, on purpose to give no offence.' 

' You was always very homely, you know, father.' 

' Yes ; so I was,' said the miller meekly. 

' I wonder what it could have been,' Bob continued, 
wandering about restlessly. 'You didn't go drinking 
out of the big mug with your mouth full, or wipe your 
lips with your sleeve ? ' 

' That I'll swear I didn't ! ' said the miller firmly. 
'Thinks I, there's no knowing what I may do to 
shock her, so I'll take my solid victuals in the bake- 
house, and only a crumb and a drop in her company 
for manners.' 



' You could do no more than that, certainly,' said 
Bob gently. 

' If my manners be good enough for well-brought-up 
people like the Garlands, they be good enough for her,' 
continued the miller, with a sense of injustice. 

'That's true. Then it must have been David. 
David, come here ! How did you behave before that 
lady ? Now, mind you speak the truth ! ' 

' Yes, Mr. Captain Robert,' said David earnestly. ' I 
assure ye she was served like a royal queen. The best 
silver spoons wez put down, and yer poor grandfer's 
silver tanket, as you seed, and the feather cushion for 
her to sit on ' 

' Now I've got it ! ' said Bob decisively, bringing 
down his hand upon the window-sill. ' Her bed was 
hard ! and there's nothing shocks a true lady like that. 
The bed in that room always was as hard as the Rock 
of Gibraltar ! ' 

' No, Captain Bob ! The beds were changed wasn't 
they, maister ? We put the goose bed in her room, and 
the flock one, that used to be there, in yours.' 

' Yes, we did,' corroborated the miller. ' David and 
I changed 'em with our own hands, because they were 
too heavy for the women to move.' 

' Sure I didn't know I had the flock bed,' murmured 
Bob. ' I slept on, little thinking what I was going to 
wake to. Well, well, she's gone ; and search as I will 
I shall never find another like her ! She was too good 
for me. She must have carried her box with her own 
hands, poor girl. As far as that goes, I could overtake 
her even now, I dare say; but I won't entreat her 
against her will not I.' 

Miller Loveday and David, feeling themselves to be 
rather a desecration in the presence of Bob's sacred 
emotions, managed to edge off by degrees, the former 
burying himself in the most floury recesses of the mill, 
his invariable resource when perturbed, the rumbling 


having a soothing effect upon the nerves of those 
properly trained to its music. 

-- Bob was so impatient that, after going up to her 
room to assure himself once more that she had not 
undressed, but had only lain down on the outside of 
the bed, he went out of the house to meet John, and 
waited on the sunny slope of the down till his brother 
appeared. John looked so brave and shapely and 
warlike that, even in Bob's present distress, he could 
not but feel an honest and affectionate pride at owning 
such a relative. Yet he fancied that John did not 
come along with the same swinging step he had shown 
yesterday; and when the trumpet-major got nearer he 
looked anxiously at the mate and waited for him to 
speak first. 

' You know our great trouble, John ? ' said Robert, 
gazing stoically into his brother's eyes. 

'Come and sit down, and tell me all about it,' 
answered the trumpet-major, showing no surprise. 

They went towards a slight ravine, where it was 
easier to sit down than on the flat ground, and here 
John reclined among the grasshoppers, pointing to his 
brother to do the same. 

'But do you know what it is ? ' said Robert. ' Has 
anybody told ye ? ' 

' I do know,' said John. ' She's gone ; and I am 
thankful ! ' 

' What ! ' said Bob, rising to his knees in amazement. 

' I'm at the bottom of it,' said the trumpet-major 

' You, John ? ' 

'Yes; and if you will listen I'll tell you all. Do 
you remember what happened when I came into the room 
last night ? Why, she turned colour and nearly fainted 
away. That was because she knew me.' 

Bob stared at his brother with a face of pain and 



' For once, Bob, I must say something that will 
hurt thee a good deal,' continued John. ' She was not 
a woman who could possibly be your wife and so she's 

' You sent her off? ' 

' Well, I did.' 

1 John ! Tell me right through tell me ! ' 

' Perhaps I had better,' said the trumpet-major, his 
blue eyes resting on the far distant sea, that seemed to 
rise like a wall as high as the hill they sat upon. 

And then he told a tale of Miss Johnson and the 
th Dragoons which wrung his heart as much in the 
telling as it did Bob's to hear, and which showed that 
John had been temporarily cruel to be ultimately kind. 
Even Bob, excited as he was, could discern from John's 
manner of speaking what a terrible undertaking that 
night's business had been for him. To justify the 
course he had adopted the dictates of duty must have 
been imperative ; but the trumpet- major, with a becom- 
ing reticence which his brother at the time was naturally 
unable to appreciate, scarcely dwelt distinctly enough 
upon the compelling cause of his conduct. It would, 
indeed, have been hard for any man, much less so 
modest a one as John, to do himself justice in that 
remarkable relation, when the listener was the lady's 
lover ; and it is no wonder that Robert rose to his feet 
and put a greater distance between himself and John. 

' And what time was it ? ' he asked in a hard, sup- 
pressed voice. 

' It was just before one o'clock.' 

' How could you help her to go away ? ' 

' I had a pass. I carried her box to the coach-office. 
She was to follow at dawn.' 

' But she had no money.' 

' Yes, she had ; I took particular care of that.' John 
did not add, as he might have done, that he had given 
her, in his pity, all the money he possessed, and at 


present had only eighteenpence in the world. ' Well, it 
is over, Bob ; so sit ye down, and talk with me of old 
times,' he added. 

' Ah, Jack, it is well enough for you to speak like 
that,' said the disquieted sailor ; ' but I can't help feeling 
that it is a cruel thing you have done. After all, she 
would have been snug enough for me. Would I had 
never found out this about her ! John, why did you 
interfere ? You had no right to overhaul my affairs like 
this. Why didn't you tell me fairly all you knew, and 
let me do as I chose ? You have turned her out of the 
house, and it's a shame ! If she had only come to me ! 
Why didn't she ? ' 

' Because she knew it was best to do otherwise.' 

' Well, I shall go after her,' said Bob firmly. 

' You can do as you like,' said John ; ' but I would 
advise you strongly to leave matters where they are.' 

' I won't leave matters where they are,' said Bob 
impetuously. 'You have made me miserable, and all 
for nothing. I tell you she was good enough for me ; 
and as long as I knew nothing about what you say of 
her history, what difference would it have made to me ? 
Never was there a young woman who was better com- 
pany; and she loved a merry song as I do myself. 
Yes, I'll follow her.' 

' O, Bob,' said John ; ' I hardly expected this ! ' 

' That's because you didn't know your man. Can I 
ask you to do me one kindness ? I don't suppose I 
can. Can I ask you not to say a word against her to 
any of them at home ? ' 

' Certainly. The very reason why I got her to go off 
silently, as she has done, was because nothing should 
be said against her here, and no scandal should be 
heard of.' 

'That may be; but I'm off after her. Marry that 
girl I will.' 

' You'll be sorry.' 



' That we shall see,' replied Robert with determina- 
tion ; and he went away rapidly towards the mill. The 
trumpet-major had no heart to follow no good could 
possibly come of further opposition ; and there on the 
down he remained like a graven image till Bob had 
vanished from his sight into the mill. 

Bob entered his father's only to leave word that he 
was going on a renewed search for Matilda, and to pack 
up a few necessaries for his journey. Ten minutes 
later he came out again with a bundle in his hand, and 
John saw him go diagonally across the lower fields 
towards the high-road. 

' And this is all the good I have done ! ' said John, 
musingly readjusting his stock where it cut his neck, 
and descending towards the mill. 





JVL EANWHILE Anne Garland had gone home, and, 
being weary with her ramble in search of Matilda, sat 
silent in a corner of the room. Her mother was pass- 
ing the time in giving utterance to every conceivable 
surmise on the cause of Miss Johnson's disappearance 
that the human mind could frame, to which Anne 
returned monosyllabic answers, the result, not of in- 
difference, but of intense preoccupation. Presently 
Loveday, the father, came to the door; her mother 
vanished with him, and they remained closeted together 
a long time. Anne went into the garden and seated 
herself beneath the branching tree whose boughs had 
sheltered her during so many hours of her residence 
here. Her attention was fixed more upon the miller's 
wing of the irregular building before her than upon that 
occupied by her mother, for she could not help ex- 
pecting every moment to see some one run out with a 
wild face and announce some awful clearing up of the 

Every sound set her on the alert, and hearing the 
tread of a horse in the lane she looked round eagerly. 
Gazing at her over the hedge was Festus Derriman, 


mounted on such an incredibly tall animal that he 
could see to her very feet over the thick and broad 
thorn fence. She no sooner recognized him than she 
withdrew her glance ; but as his eyes were fixed steadily 
upon her this was a futile manoeuvre. 

' I saw you look round ! ' he exclaimed crossly. 
' What have I done to make you behave like that ? Come, 
Miss Garland, be fair. 'Tis no use to turn your back 
upon me.' As she did not turn he went on ' Well, 
now, this is enough to provoke a saint. Now I tell you 
what, Miss Garland ; here I'll stay till you do turn round, 
if 'tis all the afternoon. You know my temper what I 
say I mean.' He seated himself firmly in the saddle, 
plucked some leaves from the hedge, and began humming 
a song, to show how absolutely indifferent he was to the 
flight of time. 

' What have you come for, that you are so anxious to 
see me ? ' inquired Anne, when at last he had wearied 
her patience, rising and facing him with the added inde- 
pendence which came from a sense of the hedge between 

' There, I knew you would turn round ! ' he said, his 
hot angry face invaded by a smile in which his teeth 
showed like white hemmed in by red at chess. 

' What do you want, Mr. Derriman ? ' said she. 

' " What do you want, Mr. Derriman ? " now listen 
to that ! Is that my encouragement ? ' 

Anne bowed superciliously, and moved away. 

' I have just heard news that explains all that,' said 
the giant, eyeing her movements with somnolent irasci- 
bility. ' My uncle has been letting things out. He was 
here late last night, and he saw you.' 

' Indeed he didn't,' said Anne. 

' O, now ! He saw Trumpet-major Loveday courting 
somebody like you in that garden walk ; and when he 
came you ran indoors.' 

' It is not true, and I wish to hear no more.' 


' Upon my life, he said so ! How can you do it, 
Miss Garland, when I, who have enough money to buy 
up all the Lovedays, would gladly come to terms with ye ? 
What a simpleton you must be, to pass me over for him ! 
There, now you are angry because I said simpleton ! I 
didn't mean simpleton, I meant misguided misguided 
rosebud ! That's it run off,' he continued in a raised 
voice, as Anne made towards the garden door. ' But I'll 
have you yet. Much reason you have to be too proud 
to stay with me. But it won't last long ; I shall marry 
you, madam, if I choose, as you'll see.' 

When he was quite gone, and Anne had calmed down 
from the not altogether unrelished fear and excitement 
that he always caused her, she returned to her seat under 
the tree, and began to wonder what Festus Derriman's 
story meant, which, from the earnestness of his tone, did 
not seem like a pure invention. It suddenly flashed 
upon her mind that she herself had heard voices in the 
garden, and that the persons seen by Farmer Derriman, 
of whose visit and reclamation of his box the miller had 
told her, might have been Matilda and John Loveday. 
She further recalled the strange agitation of Miss Johnson 
on the preceding evening, and that it occurred just at the 
entry of the dragoon, till by degrees suspicion amounted 
to conviction that he knew more than any one else sup- 
posed of that lady's disappearance. 

It was just at this time that the trumpet-major de- 
scended to the mill after his talk with his brother on the 
down. As fate would have it, instead of entering the 
house he turned aside to the garden and walked down 
that pleasant enclosure, to learn if he were likely to find 
in the other half of it the woman he loved so well. 

Yes, there she was, sitting on the seat of logs that he 
had repaired for her, under the apple-tree ; but she was 
not facing in his direction. He walked with a noisier 
tread, he coughed, he shook a bough, he did everything, 
in short, but the one thing that Festus did in the same 


circumstances call out to her. He would not have 
ventured on that for the world. Any of his signs would 
have been sufficient to attract her a day or two earlier ; 
now she would not turn. At last, in his fond anxiety, 
he did what he had never done before without an invita- 
tion, and crossed over into Mrs. Garland's half of the 
garden, till he stood before her. 

When she could not escape him she arose, and, saying 
'Good afternoon, trumpet-major,' in a glacial manner 
unusual with her, walked away to another part of the 

Loveday, quite at a loss, had not the strength of mind 
to persevere further. He had a vague apprehension that 
some imperfect knowledge of the previous night's un- 
happy business had reached her ; and, unable to remedy 
the evil without telling more than he dared, he went into 
the mill, where his father still was, looking doleful enough, 
what with his concern at events and the extra quantity 
of flour upon his face through sticking so closely to 
business that day. 

' Well, John ; Bob has told you all, of course ? A 
queer, strange, perplexing thing, isn't it ? I can't make 
it out at all. There must be something wrong in the 
woman, or it couldn't have happened. I haven't been 
so upset for years.' 

' Nor have I. I wouldn't it should have happened 
for all I own in the world,' said the dragoon. ' Have you 
spoke to Anne Garland to-day or has anybody been 
talking to her ? ' 

' Festus Derriman rode by half-an-hour ago, and 
talked to her over the hedge.' 

John guessed the rest, and, after standing on the 
threshold in silence awhile, walked away towards the 

All this time his brother Robert had been hastening 
along in pursuit of the woman who had withdrawn from 
the scene to avoid the exposure and complete overthrow 
177 M 


which would have resulted had she remained. As the 
distance lengthened between himself and the mill, Bob 
was conscious of some cooling down of the excitement 
that had prompted him to set out ; but he did not pause 
in his walk till he had reached the head of the river which 
fed the mill-stream. Here, for some indefinite reason, 
he allowed his eyes to be attracted by the bubbling spring 
whose waters never failed or lessened, and he stopped as 
if to look longer at the scene ; it was really because his 
mind was so absorbed by John's story. 

The sun was warm, the spot was a pleasant one, and 
he deposited his bundle and sat down. By degrees, as 
he reflected, first on John's view and then on his own, 
his convictions became unsettled ; till at length he was 
so balanced between the impulse to go on and the impulse 
to go back, that a puff of wind either way would have 
been well-nigh sufficient to decide for him. When he 
allowed John's story to repeat itself in his ears, the reason- 
ableness and good sense of his advice seemed beyond 
question. When, on the other hand, he thought of his 
poor Matilda's eyes, and her, to him, pleasant ways, their 
charming arrangements to marry, and her probable will- 
ingness still, he could hardly bring himself to do otherwise 
than follow on the road at the top of his speed. 

This strife of thought was so well maintained that 
sitting and standing, he remained on the borders of the 
spring till the shadows had stretched out eastwards, and 
the chance of overtaking Matilda had grown consider- 
ably less. Still he did not positively go towards home. 
At last he took a guinea from his pocket, and resolved 
to put the question to the hazard. ' Heads I go ; 
tails I don't.' The piece of gold spun in the air and 
came down heads. 

' No, I won't go, after all,' he said. ' I won't be 
steered by accidents any more.' 

He picked up his bundle and switch, and retraced 
his steps towards Overcombe Mill, knocking down the 


brambles and nettles as he went with gloomy and in- 
different blows. When he got within sight of the house 
he beheld David in the road. 

' All right all right again, captain ! ' shouted that 
retainer. ' A wedding after all ! Hurrah ! ' 

' Ah she's back again ? ' cried Bob, seizing David, 
ecstatically, and dancing round with him. 

' No but it's all the same ! it is of no consequence 
at all, and no harm will be done ! Maister and Mrs. 
Garland have made up a match, and mean to marry at 
once, that the wedding victuals may not be wasted ! 
They felt 'twould be a thousand pities to let such good 
things get blue-vinnied for want of a ceremony to use 
'em upon, and at last they have thought of this.' 

' Victuals I don't care for the victuals ! ' bitterly 
cried Bob, in a tone of far higher thought. ' How you 
disappoint me ! ' and he went slowly towards the house. 

His father appeared in the opening of the mill-door, 
looking more cheerful than when they had parted. 
' What, Robert, you've been after her ? ' he said. 
' Faith, then, I wouldn't have followed her if I had 
been as sure as you were that she went away in scorn 
of us. Since you told me that, I have not looked for 
her at all.' 

' I was wrong, father,' Bob replied gravely, throwing 
down his bundle and stick. ' Matilda, I find, has not 
gone away in scorn of us ; she has gone away for other 
reasons. I followed her some way ; but I have come 
back again. She may go.' 

' Why is she gone ? ' said the astonished miller. 

Bob had intended, for Matilda's sake, to give no 
reason to a living soul for her departure. But he could 
not treat his father thus reservedly ; and he told. 

' She has made great fools of us,' said the miller 
deliberately ; ' and she might have made us greater 
ones. Bob, I thought th' hadst more sense.' 

' Well, don't say anything against her, father,' im- 


plored Bob. "Twas a sorry haul, and there's an end 
on't. Let her down quietly, and keep the secret. You 
promise that ? ' 

' I do.' Loveday the elder remained thinking 
awhile, and then went on ' Well, what I was going 
to say is this : I've hit upon a plan to get out of the 
awkward corner she has put us in. What you'll think 
of it I can't say.' 

' David has just given me the heads.' 
'And do it hurt your feelings, my son, at such a 
time ? ' 

'No I'll bring myself to bear it, anyhow! Why 
should I object to other people's happiness because I 
have lost my own ? ' said Bob, with saintly self-sacrifice 
in his air. 

' Well said ! ' answered the miller heartily. ' But you 
may be sure that there will be no unseemly rejoicing, to 
disturb ye in your present frame of mind. All the 
morning I felt more ashamed than I cared to own at 
the thought of how the neighbours, great and small, 
would laugh at what they would call your folly, when they 
knew what had happened; so I resolved to take this 
step to stave it off, if so be 'twas possible. And when 
I saw Mrs. Garland I knew I had done right. She 
pitied me so much for having had the house cleaned in 
vain, and laid in provisions to waste, that it put her into 
the humour to agree. We mean to do it right off at 
once, afore the pies and cakes get mouldy and the black- 
pot stale. 'Twas a good thought of mine and hers, and 
I am glad 'tis settled,' he concluded cheerfully. 
' Poor Matilda ! ' murmured Bob. 
' There I was afraid 'twould hurt thy feelings,' said 
the miller, with self-reproach : ' making preparations for 
thy wedding, and using them for my own ! ' 

' No,' said Bob heroically ; ' it shall not. It will be 
a great comfort in my sorrow to feel that the splendid 
grub, and the ale, and your stunning new suit of clothes, 


and the great table-cloths you've bought, will be just as 
useful now as if I had married myself. Poor Matilda ! 
But you won't expect me to join in you hardly can. I 
can sheer off that day very easily, you know.' 

' Nonsense, Bob ! ' said the miller reproachfully. 

' I couldn't stand it I should break down.' 

' Deuce take me if I would have asked her, then, if I 
had known 'twas going to drive thee out of the house ! 
Now, come, Bob, I'll find a way of arranging it and 
sobering it down, so that it shall be as melancholy as 
you can require in short, just like a funeral, if thou'lt 
promise to stay ? ' 

'Very well/ said the afflicted one. 'On that con- 
dition I'll stay.' 





IriAVING entered into this solemn compact with his 
son, the elder Loveday's next action was to go to Mrs. 
Garland, and ask her how the toning down of the 
wedding had best be done. ' It is plain enough that 
to make merry just now would be slighting Bob's 
feelings, as if we didn't care who was not married, so 
long as we were,' he said. ' But then, what's to be 
done about the victuals?' 

' Give a dinner to the poor folk,' she suggested. ' We 
can get everything used up that way.' 

' That's true,' said the miller. ' There's enough of 
'em in these times to carry off any extras whatsoever.' 

'And it will save Bobs feelings wonderfully. And 
they won't know that the dinner was got for another 
sort of wedding and another sort of guests ; so you'll 
have their good-will for nothing.' 

The miller smiled at the subtlety of the view. ' That 
can hardly be called fair,' he said. 'Still, I did mean 
some of it for them, for the friends we meant to ask 
would not have cleared all.' 

Upon the whole the idea pleased him well, particularly 
when he noticed the forlorn look of his sailor son as he 


walked about the place, and pictured the inevitably jarring 
effect of fiddles and tambourines upon Bob's shattered 
nerves at such a crisis, even if the notes of the former 
were dulled by the application of a mute, and Bob shut 
up in a distant bedroom a plan which had at first 
occurred to him. He therefore told Bob that the 
surcharged larder was to be emptied by the charitable 
process above alluded to, and hoped he would not mind 
making himself useful in such a good and gloomy work. 
Bob readily fell in with the scheme, and it was at once 
put in hand and the tables spread. 

The alacrity with which the substituted wedding was 
carried out, seemed to show that the worthy pair of 
neighbours would have joined themselves into one long 
ago, had there previously occurred any domestic incident 
dictating such a step as an apposite expedient, apart 
from their personal wish to marry. 

The appointed morning came, and the service quietly 
took place at the cheerful hour of ten, in the face of a 
triangular congregation, of which the base was the front 
pew, and the apex the west door. Mrs. Garland dressed 
herself in the muslin shawl like Queen Charlotte's, that 
Bob had brought home, and her best plum-coloured 
gown, beneath which peeped out her shoes with red 
rosettes. Anne was present, but she considerately toned 
herself down, so as not to too seriously damage her 
mother's appearance. At moments during the ceremony 
she had a distressing sense that she ought not to be 
born, and was glad to get home again. 

The interest excited in the village, though real, was 
hardly enough to bring a serious blush to the face of 
coyness. Neighbours' minds had become so saturated by 
the abundance of showy military and regal incident lately 
vouchsafed to them, that the wedding of middle-aged 
civilians was of small account, excepting in so far that 
it solved the question whether or not Mrs. Garland would 
consider herself too genteel to mate with a grinder of corn. 


In the evening, Loveday's heart was made glad by 
seeing the baked and boiled in rapid process of con- 
sumption by the kitchenful of people assembled for that 
purpose. Three-quarters of an hour were sufficient to 
banish for ever his fears as to spoilt food. The pro- 
visions being the cause of the assembly, and not its 
consequence, it had been determined to get all that 
would not keep consumed on that day, even if high- 
ways and hedges had to be searched for operators. 
And, in addition to the poor and needy, every 
cottager's daughter known to the miller was invited, 
and told to bring her lover from camp an expedient 
which, for letting daylight into the inside of full platters, 
was among the most happy ever known. 

While Mr. and Mrs. Loveday, Anne, and Bob were 
standing in the parlour, discussing the progress of the 
entertainment in the next room, John, who had not 
been down all day, entered the house and looked in 
upon them through the open door. 

' How's this, John ? Why didn't you come before ? ' 

' Had to see the captain, and other duties,' said 
the trumpet-major, in a tone which showed no great 
zeal for explanations. 

' Well, come in, however,' continued the miller, as his 
son remained with his hand on the door-post, surveying 
them reflectively. 

'I cannot stay long,' said John, advancing. 'The 
Route is come, and we are going away.' 

' Going away ! Where to ? ' 

4 To Exonbury.' 

' When ? ' 

' Friday morning.' 

1 All of you ? ' 

'Yes; some to-morrow and some next day. The 
King goes next week.' 

' I am sorry for this,' said the miller, not expressing 
half his sorrow by the simple utterance. ' I wish you 


could have been here to-day, since this is the case,' he 
added, looking at the horizon through the window. 

Mrs. Loveday also expressed her regret, which seemed 
to remind the trumpet-major of the event of the day, 
and he went to her and tried to say something befitting 
the occasion. Anne had not said that she was either 
sorry or glad, but John Loveday fancied that she had 
looked rather relieved than otherwise when she heard 
his news. His conversation with Bob on the down 
made Bob's manner, too, remarkably cool, notwith- 
standing that he had after all followed his brother's 
advice, which it was as yet too soon after the event 
for him to rightly value. John did not know why 
the sailor had come back, never supposing that it 
was because he had thought better of going, and said 
to him privately, ' You didn't overtake her ? ' 

' I didn't try to,' said Bob. 

' And you are not going to ? ' 

' No ; I shall let her drift.' 

' I am glad indeed, Bob ; you have been wise,' said 
John heartily. 

Bob, however, still loved Matilda too well to be other 
than dissatisfied with John and the event that he had 
precipitated, which the elder brother only too promptly 
perceived; and it made his stay that evening of short 
duration. Before leaving he said with some hesitation 
to his father, including Anne and her mother by his 
glance, ' Do you think to come up and see us off? ' 

The miller answered for them all, and said that of 
course they would come. ' But you'll step down again 
between now and then ? ' he inquired. 

' I'll try to.' He added after a pause, In case I 
should not, remember that Revalley will sound at half- 
past five; we shall leave about eight. Next summer, 
perhaps, we shall come and camp here again.' 

' I hope so,' said his father and Mrs. Loveday. 

There was something in John's manner which indi- 


cated to Anne that he scarcely intended to come down 
again ; but the others did not notice it, and she said 
nothing. He departed a few minutes later, in the dusk 
of the August evening, leaving Anne still in doubt as to 
the meaning of his private meeting with Miss Johnson. 

John Loveday had been going to tell them that on 
the last night, by an especial privilege, it would be in 
his power to come and stay with them until eleven 
o'clock, but at the moment of leaving he abandoned the 
intention. Anne's attitude had chilled him, and made 
him anxious to be off. He utilized the spare hours of 
that last night in another way. 

This was by coming down from the outskirts of the 
camp in the evening, and seating himself near the brink 
of the mill-pond as soon as it was quite dark ; where he 
watched the lights in the different windows till one 
appeared in Anne's bedroom, and she herself came for- 
ward to shut the casement, with the candle in her hand. 
The light shone out upon the broad and deep mill-head, 
illuminating to a distinct individuality every moth and 
gnat that entered the quivering chain of radiance stretch- 
ing across the water towards him, and every bubble or 
atom of froth that floated into its width. She stood for 
some time looking out, little thinking what the darkness 
concealed on the other side of that wide stream ; till at 
length she closed the casement, drew the curtains, and 
retreated into the room. Presently the light went out, 
upon which John Loveday returned to camp and lay 
down in his tent. 

The next morning was dull and windy, and the 
trumpets of the th sounded ReVeille for the last time 
on Overcombe Down. Knowing that the Dragoons 
were going away, Anne had slept heedfully, and was at 
once awakened by the smart notes. She looked out of 
the window, to find that the miller was already astir, his 
white form being visible at the end of his garden, where 
he stood motionless, watching the preparations. Anne 
1 86 


also looked on as well as she could through the dim 
grey gloom, and soon she saw the blue smoke from the 
cooks' fires creeping fitfully along the ground, instead 
of rising in vertical columns, as it had done during the 
fine weather season. Then the men began to carry 
their bedding to the waggons, and others to throw all 
refuse into the trenches, till the down was lively as an 
ant-hill. Anne did not want to see John Loveday again, 
but hearing the household astir, she began to dress at 
leisure, looking out at the camp the while. 

When the soldiers had breakfasted, she saw them 
selling and giving away their superfluous crockery to the 
natives who had clustered round ; and then they pulled 
down and cleared away the temporary kitchens which 
they had constructed when they came. A tapping of 
tent-pegs and wriggling of picket-posts followed, and 
soon the cones of white canvas, now almost become a 
component part of the landscape, fell to the ground. 
At this moment the miller came indoors and asked at 
the foot of the stairs if anybody was going up the hill 
with him. 

Anne felt that, in spite of the cloud hanging over 
John in her mind, it would ill become the present 
moment not to see him off, and she went downstairs 
to her mother, who was already there, though Bob was 
nowhere to be seen. Each took an arm of the miller, 
and thus climbed to the top of the hill. By this time 
the men and horses were at the place of assembly, and, 
shortly after the mill-party reached level ground, the 
troops slowly began to move forward. When the 
trumpet-major, half buried in his uniform, arms, and 
horse-furniture, drew near to the spot where the Love- 
days were waiting to see him pass, his father turned 
anxiously to Anne and said, 'You will shake hands 
with John ? ' 

Anne faintly replied ' Yes,' and allowed the miller to 
take her forward on his arm to the trackway, so as to be 


close to the flank of the approaching column. It came 
up, many people on each side grasping the hands of the 
troopers in bidding them farewell ; and as soon as John 
Loveday saw the members of his father's household, he 
stretched down his hand across his right pistol for the 
same performance. The miller gave his, then Mrs. 
Loveday gave hers, and then the hand of the trumpet- 
major was extended towards Anne. But as the horse 
did not absolutely stop, it was a somewhat awkward 
performance for a young woman to undertake, and, 
more on that account than on any other, Anne drew 
back, and the gallant trooper passed by without receiving 
her adieu. Anne's heart reproached her for a moment ; 
and then she thought that, after all, he was not going 
off to immediate battle, and that she would in all 
probability see him again at no distant date, when she 
hoped that the mystery of his conduct would be ex- 
plained. Her thoughts were interrupted by a voice at 
her elbow : ' Thank heaven, he's gone ! Now there's a 
chance for me.' 

She turned, and Festus Derriman was standing by her. 

' There's no chance for you,' she said indignantly. 

' Why not ? ' 

' Because there's another left ! ' 

The words had slipped out quite unintentionally, 
and she blushed quickly. She would have given 
anything to be able to recall them ; but he had heard, 
and said, ' Who ? ' 

Anne went forward to the miller to avoid replying, 
and Festus caught her no more. 

' Has anybody been hanging about Overcombe Mill 
except Loveday's son the soldier?' he asked of a 

1 His son the sailor,' was the reply. 

' O his son the sailor,' said Festus slowly. ' Damn 
his son the sailor ! ' 






A.T this particular moment the object of Festus Derri- 
man's fulmination was assuredly not dangerous as a rival. 
Bob, after abstractedly watching the soldiers from the 
front of the house till they were out of sight, had gone 
within doors and seated himself in the mill-parlour, 
where his father found him, his elbows resting on the 
table and his forehead on his hands, his eyes being fixed 
upon a document that lay open before him. 

' What art perusing, Bob, with such a long face ? ' 
Bob sighed, and then Mrs. Loveday and Anne entered. 
' 'Tis only a state-paper that I fondly thought I should 
have a use for,' he said gloomily. And, looking down 
as before, he cleared his voice, as if moved inwardly to 
go on, and began to read in feeling tones from what 
proved to be his nullified marriage licence : 

' " Timothy Titus Philemon, by permission Bishop of Bristol : To 
our well-beloved Robert Loveday, of the parish of Overcombe, 
Bachelor ; and Matilda Johnson, of the same parish, Spinster. 
Greeting. ' " 

Here Anne sighed, but contrived to keep down her 
sigh to a mere nothing. 



' Beautiful language, isn't it ! ' said Bob. ' I was 
never greeted like that afore ! ' 

' Yes ; I have often thought it very excellent language 
myself,' said Mrs. Loveday. 

' Come to that, the old gentleman will greet thee like 
it again any day for a couple of guineas,' said the miller. 

' That's not the point, father ! You never could see 
the real meaning of these things. . . . Well, then he 
goes on : " Whereas ye are, as it is alleged, determined 
to enter into the holy estate of matrimony " But why 
should I read on ? It all means nothing now nothing, 
and the splendid words are all wasted upon air. It 
seems as if I had been hailed by some venerable hoary 
prophet, and had turned away, put the helm hard up, 
and wouldn't hear.' 

Nobody replied, feeling probably that sympathy could 
not meet the case, and Bob went on reading the rest of 
it to himself, occasionally heaving a breath like the wind 
in a ship's shrouds. 

' I wouldn't set my mind so much upon her, if I was 
thee,' said his father at last. 

* Why not?' 

' Well, folk might call thee a fool, and say thy brains 
were turning to water.' 

Bob was apparently much struck by this thought, 
and, instead of continuing the discourse further, he care- 
fully folded up the licence, went out, and walked up and 
down the garden. It was startlingly apt what his father 
had said ; and, worse than that, what people would call 
him might be true, and the liquefaction of his brains turn 
out to be no fable. By degrees he became much con- 
cerned, and the more he examined himself by this new 
light the more clearly did he perceive that he was in a 
very bad way. 

On reflection he remembered that since Miss John- 
son's departure his appetite had decreased amazingly. 
He had eaten in meat no more than fourteen or fifteen 


ounces a day, but one-third of a quartern pudding on 
an average, in vegetables only a small heap of potatoes 
and half a York cabbage, and no gravy whatever ; which, 
considering the usual appetite of a seaman for fresh food 
at the end of a long voyage, was no small index of the 
depression of his mind. Then he had waked once 
every night, and on one occasion twice. While dressing 
each morning since the gloomy day he had not whistled 
more than seven bars of a hornpipe without stopping 
and falling into thought of a most painful kind ; and he 
had told none but absolutely true stories of foreign 
parts to the neighbouring villagers when they saluted 
and clustered about him, as usual, for anything he chose 
to pour forth except that story of the whale whose eye 
was about as large as the round pond in Derriman's 
ewe-lease which was like tempting fate to set a seal for 
ever upon his tongue as a traveller. All this enervation, 
mental and physical, had been produced by Matilda's 

He also considered what he had lost of the rational 
amusements of manhood during these unfortunate days. 
He might have gone to the neighbouring fashionable 
resort every afternoon, stood before Gloucester Lodge 
till the King and Queen came out, held his hat in his 
hand, and enjoyed their Majesties' smiles at his homage 
all for nothing watched the picket-mounting, heard 
the different bands strike up, observed the staff; and, 
above all, have seen the pretty town girls go trip-trip- 
trip along the esplanade, deliberately fixing their innocent 
eyes on the distant sea, the grey cliffs, and the sky, and 
accidentally on the soldiers and himself. 

' I'll raze out her image,' he said. ' She shall make 
a fool of me no more.' And his resolve resulted in 
conduct which had elements of real greatness. 

He went back to his father, whom he found in the 
mill-loft. ' 'Tis true, father, what you say,' he observed : 
' my brains will turn to bilge-water if I think of her 


much longer. By the oath of a navigator, I wish I 
could sigh less and laugh more ! She's gone why can't 
I let her go, and be happy ? But how begin ? ' 

' Take it careless, my son,' said the miller, ' and lay 
yourself out to enjoy snacks and cordials.' 

1 Ah that's a thought ! ' said Bob. 

'Baccy is good for't. So is sperrits. Though I 
don't advise thee to drink neat.' 

' Baccy I'd almost forgot it !' said Captain Loveday. 

He went to his room, hastily untied the package of 
tobacco that he had brought home, and began to make 
use of it in his own way, calling to David for a bottle of 
the old household mead that had lain in the cellar these 
eleven years. He was discovered by his father three- 
quarters of an hour later as a half-invisible object behind 
a cloud of smoke. 

The miller drew a breath of relief. ' Why, Bob,' he 
said, ' I thought the house was a-fire ! ' 

'I'm smoking rather fast to drown my reflections, 
father. Tis no use to chaw.' 

To tempt his attenuated appetite the unhappy mate 
made David cook an omelet and bake a seed-cake, the 
latter so richly compounded that it opened to the knife 
like a freckled buttercup. With the same object he stuck 
night-lines into the banks of the mill-pond, and drew 
up next morning a family of fat eels, some of which 
were skinned and prepared for his breakfast. They 
were his favourite fish, but such had been his condition 
that, until the moment of making this effort, he had 
quite forgotten their existence at his father's back-door. 
In a few days Bob Loveday had considerably im- 
proved in tone and vigour. One other obvious remedy 
for his dejection was to indulge in the society of Miss 
Garland, love being so much more effectually got rid of 
by displacement than by attempted annihilation. But 
Loveday's belief that he had offended her beyond forgive- 
ness, and his ever-present sense of her as a woman who 


by education and antecedents was fitted to adorn a 
higher sphere than his own, effectually kept him from 
going near her for a long time, notwithstanding that they 
were inmates of one house. The reserve was, however, 
in some degree broken by the appearance one morning, 
later in the season, of the point of a saw through the 
partition which divided Anne's room from the Loveday 
half of the house. Though she dined and supped with 
her mother and the Loveday family, Miss Garland had 
still continued to occupy her old apartments, because 
she found it more convenient there to pursue her hobbies 
of wool-work and of copying her father's old pictures. 
The division wall had not as yet been broken down. 

As the saw worked its way downwards under her 
astonished gaze Anne jumped up from her drawing ; and 
presently the temporary canvasing and papering which 
had sealed up the old door of communication was cut 
completely through. The door burst open, and Bob 
stood revealed on the other side, with the saw in his 

'I beg your ladyship's pardon,' he said, taking off 
the hat he had been working in, as his handsome face 
expanded into a smile. ' I didn't know this door 
opened into your private room.' 

' Indeed, Captain Loveday ! ' 

' I am pulling down the division on principle, as we 
are now one family. But I really thought the door 
opened into your passage.' 

' It don't matter ; I can get another room.' 

' Not at all. Father wouldn't let me turn you out. 
I'll close it up again.' 

But Anne was so interested in the novelty of a new 
doorway that she walked through it, and found herself 
in a dark low passage which she had never seen before. 

' It leads to the mill,' said Bob. ' Would you like 
to go in and see it at work ? But perhaps you have 

I 93 N 


' Only into the ground floor.' 

' Come all over it. I am practising as grinder, you 
know, to help my father.' 

She followed him along the dark passage, in the side 
of which he opened a little trap, when she saw a great 
slimy cavern, where the long arms of the mill-wheel flung 
themselves slowly and distractedly round, and splashing 
water-drops caught the little light that strayed into the 
gloomy place, turning it into stars and flashes. A cold 
mist-laden puff of air came into their faces, and the roar 
from within made it necessary for Anne to shout as she 
said, ' It is dismal ! let us go on.' 

Bob shut the trap, the roar ceased, and they went 
on to the inner part of the mill, where the air was 
warm and nutty, and pervaded by a fog of flour. Then 
they ascended the stairs, and saw the stones lumbering 
round and round, and the yellow corn running down 
through the hopper. They climbed yet further to the 
top stage, where the wheat lay in bins, and where long 
rays like feelers stretched in from the sun through 
the little window, got nearly lost among cobwebs and 
timber, and completed their course by marking the oppo- 
site wall with a glowing patch of gold. 

In his earnestness as an exhibitor Bob opened the 
bolter, which was spinning rapidly round, the result 
being that a dense cloud of flour rolled out in their 
faces, reminding Anne that her complexion was probably 
much paler by this time than when she had entered the 
mill. She thanked her companion for his trouble, and 
said she would now go down. He followed her with 
the same deference as hitherto, and with a sudden and 
increasing sense that of all cures for his former unhappy 
passion this would have been the nicest, the easiest, 
and the most effectual, if he had only been fortunate 
enough to keep her upon easy terms. But Miss Gar- 
land showed no disposition to go further than accept 
his services as a guide ; she descended to the open air, 


shook the flour from her like a bird, and went on into 
the garden amid the September sunshine, whose rays 
lay level across the blue haze which the earth gave forth. 
The gnats were dancing up and down in airy com- 
panies, the nasturtium flowers shone out in groups from 
the dark hedge over which they climbed, and the mellow 
smell of the decline of summer was exhaled by every- 
thing. Bob followed her as far as the gate, looked 
after her, thought of her as the same girl who had half 
encouraged him years ago, when she seemed so superior 
to him ; though now they were almost equal she ap- 
parently thought him beneath her. It was with a new 
sense of pleasure that his mind flew to the fact that 
she was now an inmate of his father's house. 

His obsequious bearing was continued during the 
next week. In the busy hours of the day they seldom 
met, but they regularly encountered each other at meals, 
and these cheerful occasions began to have an interest 
for him quite irrespective of dishes and cups. When 
Anne entered and took her seat she was always loudly 
hailed by Miller Loveday as he whetted his knife ; but 
from Bob she condescended to accept no such familiar 
greeting, and they often sat down together as if each 
had a blind eye in the direction of the other. Bob 
sometimes told serious and correct stories about sea- 
captains, pilots, boatswains, mates, able seamen, and 
other curious fauna of the marine world; but these 
were directly addressed to his father and Mrs. Loveday, 
Anne being included at the clinching-point by a glance 
only. He sometimes opened bottles of sweet cider for 
her, and then she thanked him ; but even this did not 
lead to her encouraging his chat. 

One day when Anne was paring an apple she was 
left at table with the young man. ' I have made some- 
thing for you,' he said. 

She looked all over the table; nothing was there 
save the ordinary remnants. 



' O I don't mean that it is here ; it is out by the 
bridge at the mill-head.' 

He arose, and Anne followed with curiosity in her 
eyes, and with her firm little mouth pouted up to a 
puzzled shape. On reaching the mossy mill-head she 
found that he had fixed in the keen damp draught 
which always prevailed over the wheel an ^Eolian harp 
of large size. At present the strings were partly covered 
with a cloth. He lifted it, and the wires began to 
emit a weird harmony which mingled curiously with the 
plashing of the wheel. 

'I made it on purpose for you, Miss Garland,' he 

She thanked him very warmly, for she had never 
seen anything like such an instrument before, and it 
interested her. ' It was very thoughtful of you to 
make it,' she added. ' How came you to think of 
such a thing ? ' 

'O I don't know exactly,' he replied, as if he did 
not care to be questioned on the point. ' I have 
never made one in my life till now.' 

Every night after this, during the mournful gales of 
autumn, the strange mixed music of water, wind, and 
strings met her ear, swelling and sinking with an almost 
supernatural cadence. The character of the instrument 
was far enough removed from anything she had hitherto 
seen of Bob's hobbies ; so that she marvelled pleasantly 
at the new depths of poetry this contrivance revealed as 
existent in that young seaman's nature, and allowed her 
emotions to flow out yet a little further in the old 
direction, notwithstanding her late severe resolve to bar 
them back. 

One breezy night, when the mill was kept going into 
the small hours, and the wind was exactly in the direction 
of the water-current, the music so mingled with her 
dreams as to wake her : it seemed to rhythmically set 
itself to the words, ' Remember me ! think of me ! ' 


She was much impressed ; the sounds were almost too 
touching ; and she spoke to Bob the next morning on 
the subject. 

' How strange it is that you should have thought of 
fixing that harp where the water gushes ! ' she gently 
observed. ' It affects me almost painfully at night. 
You are poetical, Captain Bob. But it is too too 

' I will take it away,' said Captain Bob promptly. 
' It certainly is too sad ; I thought so myself. I myself 
was kept awake by it one night.' 

' How came you to think of making such a peculiar 
thing ? ' 

'Well,' said Bob, 'it is hardly worth saying why. 
It is not a good place for such a queer noisy machine ; 
and I'll take it away.' 

' On second thoughts,' said Anne, ( I should like it 
to remain a little longer, because it sets me thinking.' 

' Of me ? ' he asked with earnest frankness. 

Anne's colour rose fast. 

' Well, yes,' she said, trying to infuse much plain 
matter-of-fact into her voice. ' Of course I am led to 
think of the person who invented it.' 

Bob seemed unaccountably embarrassed, and the 
subject was not pursued. About half-an-hour later he 
came to her again, with something of an uneasy look. 

' There was a little matter I didn't tell you just now, 
Miss Garland,' he said. ' About that harp thing, I 
mean. I did make it, certainly, but it was my brother 
John who asked me to do it, just before he went away. 
John is very musical, as you know, and he said it would 
interest you ; but as he didn't ask me to tell, I did not. 
Perhaps I ought to have, and not have taken the credit 
to myself.' 

' O, it is nothing ! ' said Anne quickly. ' It is a very 
incomplete instrument after all, and it will be just as 
well for you to take it away as you first proposed.' 


He said that he would, but he forgot to do it that 
day; and the following night there was a high wind, 
and the harp cried and moaned so movingly that Anne, 
whose window was quite near, could hardly bear the 
sound with its new associations. John Loveday was 
present to her mind all night as an ill-used man ; and 
yet she could not own that she had ill-used him. 

The harp was removed next day. Bob, feeling that 
his credit for originality was damaged in her eyes, by 
way of recovering it set himself to paint the summer- 
house which Anne frequented, and when he came out he 
assured her that it was quite his own idea. 

' It wanted doing, certainly,' she said, in a neutral 

' It is just about troublesome.' 

' Yes ; you can't quite reach up. That's because you 
are not very tall ; is it not, Captain Loveday ? ' 

' You never used to say things like that.' 

' O, I don't mean that you are much less than tall ! 
Shall I hold the paint for you, to save your stepping 
down ? ' 

' Thank you, if you would.' 

She took the paint-pot, and stood looking at the brush 
as it moved up and down in his hand. 

' I hope I shall not sprinkle your fingers,' he observed 
as he dipped. 

' O, that would not matter ! You do it very well.' 

' I am glad to hear that you think so.' 

But perhaps not quite so much art is demanded to 
paint a summer-house as to paint a picture ? ' 

Thinking that, as a painter's daughter, and a person 
of education superior to his own, she spoke with a flavour 
of sarcasm, he felt humbled and said 

' You did not use to talk like that to me.' 

' I was perhaps too young then to take any pleasure 
in giving pain,' she observed daringly. 

' Does it give you pleasure ? ' 


Anne nodded. 

' I like to give pain to people who have given pain to 
me,' she said smartly, without removing her eyes from 
the green liquid in her hand. 

' I ask your pardon for that.' 

'I didn't say I meant you though I did mean 
you. 1 

Bob looked and looked at her side face till he was 
bewitched into putting down his brush. 

' It was that stupid forgetting of 'ee for a time ! ' he 
exclaimed. ' Well, I hadn't seen you for so very long 
consider how many years ! O, dear Anne ! ' he said, 
advancing to take her hand, how well we knew one 
another when we were children ! You was a queen to 
me then ; and so you are now, and always.' 

Possibly Anne was thrilled pleasantly enough at 
having brought the truant village lad to her feet again ; 
but he was not to find the situation so easy as he 
imagined, and her hand was not to be taken yet. 

' Very pretty ! ' she said, laughing. ' And only six 
weeks since Miss Johnson left.' 

' Zounds, don't say anything about that ! ' implored 
Bob. ' I swear that I never never deliberately loved 
her for a long time together, that is -, it was a sudden 
sort of thing, you know. But towards you I have more 
or less honoured and respectfully loved you, off and on, 
all my life. There, that's true.' 

Anne retorted quickly 

' I am willing, off and on, to believe you, Captain 
Robert. But I don't see any good in your making 
these solemn declarations.' 

' Give me leave to explain, dear Miss Garland. It is 
to get you to be pleased to renew an old promise made 
years ago that you'll think o' me.' 

' Not a word of any promise will I repeat.' 

'Well, well, I won't urge 'ee to-day. Only let me 
beg of you to get over the quite wrong notion you have 


of me; and it shall be my whole endeavour to fetch 
your gracious favour.' 

Anne turned away from him and entered the house, 
whither in the course of a quarter of an hour he followed 
her, knocking at her door, and asking to be let in. She 
said she was busy ; whereupon he went away, to come 
back again in a short time and receive the same answer. 

' I have finished painting the summer-house for you,' 
he said through the door. 

' I cannot come to see it. I shall be engaged till 

She heard him breathe a heavy sigh and withdraw, 
murmuring something about his bad luck in being cut 
away from the starn like this. But it was not over yet. 
When supper-time came and they sat down together, 
she took upon herself to reprove him for what he had 
said to her in the garden. 

Bob made his forehead express despair. 

' Now, I beg you this one thing,' he said. ' Just let 
me know your whole mind. Then I shall have a 
chance to confess my faults and mend them, or clear my 
conduct to your satisfaction.' 

She answered with quickness, but not loud enough 
to be heard by the old people at the other end of the 
table 'Then, Captain Loveday, I will tell you one 
thing, one fault, that perhaps would have been more 
proper to my character than to yours. You are too 
easily impressed by new faces, and that gives me a bad 
opinion of you yes, a bad opinion? 

' O, that's it ! ' said Bob slowly, looking at her with 
the intense respect of a pupil for a master, her words 
being spoken in a manner so precisely between jest 
and earnest that he was in some doubt how they 
were to be received. ' Impressed by new faces. It is 
wrong, certainly, of me.' 

The popping of a cork, and the pouring out of 
strong beer by the miller with a view to giving it a head, 


were apparently distractions sufficient to excuse her in 
not attending further to him ; and during the remainder 
of the sitting her gentle chiding seemed to be sinking 
seriously into his mind. Perhaps her own heart ached 
to see how silent he was ; but she had always meant to 
punish him. Day after day for two or three weeks she 
preserved the same demeanour, with a self-control which 
did justice to her character. And, on his part, consider- 
ing what he had to put up with, how she eluded him, 
snapped him off, refused to come out when he called 
her, refused to see him when he wanted to enter the 
little parlour which she had now appropriated to her 
private use, his patience testified strongly to his good- 





CHRISTMAS had passed. Dreary winter with dark 
evenings had given place to more dreary winter with 
light evenings. Rapid thaws had ended in rain, rain in 
wind, wind in dust. Showery days had come the 
season of pink dawns and white sunsets; and people 
hoped that the March weather was over. 

The chief incident that concerned the household at 
the mill was that the miller, following the example of 
all his neighbours, had become a volunteer, and duly 
appeared twice a week in a red, long-tailed military coat, 
pipe-clayed breeches, black cloth gaiters, a heel-balled 
helmet - hat, with a tuft of green wool, and epaulettes 
of the same colour and material. Bob still remained 
neutral. Not being able to decide whether to enrol 
himself as a sea-fencible, a local militia-man, or a 
volunteer, he simply went on dancing attendance upon 
Anne. Mrs. Loveday had become awake to the fact 
that the pair of young people stood in a curious attitude 
towards each other; but as they were never seen with 
their heads together, and scarcely ever sat even in the 
same room, she could not be sure what their movements 



Strangely enough (or perhaps naturally enough), 
since entering the Loveday family herself, she had 
gradually grown to think less favourably of Anne doing 
the same thing, and reverted to her original idea of 
encouraging Festus; this more particularly because he 
had of late shown such perseverance in haunting the 
precincts of the mill, presumably with the intention of 
lighting upon the young girl. But the weather had kept 
her mostly indoors. 

One afternoon it was raining in torrents. Such 
leaves as there were on trees at this time of year those 
of the laurel and other evergreens staggered beneath 
the hard blows of the drops which fell upon them, and 
afterwards could be seen trickling down the stems 
beneath and silently entering the ground. The surface 
of the mill-pond leapt up in a thousand spirts under 
the same downfall, and clucked like a hen in the rat- 
holes along the banks as it undulated under the wind. 
The only dry spot visible from the front windows of the 
mill-house was the inside of a small shed, on the opposite 
side of the courtyard. While Mrs. Loveday was noticing 
the threads of rain descending across its interior shade, 
Festus Derriman walked up and entered it for shelter, 
which, owing to the lumber within, it but scantily 
afforded to a man who would have been a match for 
one of Frederick William's Patagonians. 

It was an excellent opportunity for helping on her 
scheme. Anne was in the back room, and by asking 
him in till the rain was over she would bring him face 
to face with her daughter, whom, as the days went on, 
she increasingly wished to marry other than a Loveday, 
now that the romance of her own alliance with the miller 
had in some respects worn off. She was better provided 
for than before; she was not unhappy) but the plain 
fact was that she had married beneath her. She 
beckoned to Festus through the window-pane ; he in- 
stantly complied with her signal, having in fact placed 


himself there on purpose to be noticed ; for he knew that 
Miss Garland would not be out-of-doors on such a day. 

' Good afternoon, Mrs. Loveday,' said Festus on 
entering. ' There now if I didn't think that's how it 
would be ! ' His voice had suddenly warmed to anger, 
for he had seen a door close in the back part of the 
room, a lithe figure having previously slipped through. 

Mrs. Loveday turned, observed that Anne was gone, 
and said, ' What is it ? ' as if she did not know. 

' O, nothing, nothing ! ' said Festus crossly. ' You 
know well enough what it is, ma'am; only you make 
pretence otherwise. But I'll bring her to book yet. 
You shall drop your haughty airs, my charmer ! She 
little thinks I have kept an account of 'em all.' 

' But you must treat her politely, sir,' said Mrs. 
Loveday, secretly pleased at these signs of uncontrollable 

' Don't tell me of politeness or generosity, ma'am ! 
She is more than a match for me. She regularly gets 
over me. I have passed by this house five-and-fifty 
times since last Martinmas, and this is all my reward 
for't ! ' 

' But you will stay till the rain is over, sir ? ' 

' No. I don't mind rain. I'm off again. She's got 
somebody else in her eye ! ' And the yeoman went out, 
slamming the door. 

Meanwhile the slippery object of his hopes had gone 
along the dark passage, passed the trap which opened 
on the wheel, and through the door into the mill, where 
she was met by Bob, who looked up from the flour-shoot 
inquiringly and said, ' You want me, Miss Garland ? ' 

C O no,' said she. 'I only want to be allowed to 
stand here a few minutes.' 

He looked at her to know if she meant it, and find- 
ing that she did, returned to his post. When the mill 
had rumbled on a little longer he came back. 

' Bob,' she said, when she saw him move, ' remember 


that you are at work, and have no time to stand close 
to me.' 

He bowed and went to his original post again, Anne 
watching from the window till Festus should leave. The 
mill rumbled on as before, and at last Bob came to her 
for the third time. ' Now, Bob ' she began. 

' On my honour, 'tis only to ask a question. Will you 
walk with me to church next Sunday afternoon ? ' 

' Perhaps I will,' she said. But at this moment the 
yeoman left the house, and Anne, to escape further 
parley, returned to the dwelling by the way she had come. 

Sunday afternoon arrived, and the family was stand- 
ing at the door waiting for the church bells to begin. 
From that side of the house they could see southward 
across a paddock to the rising ground further ahead, 
where there grew a large elm-tree, beneath whose boughs 
footpaths crossed in different directions, like meridians 
at the pole. The tree was old, and in summer the grass 
beneath it was quite trodden away by the feet of the many 
trysters and idlers who haunted the spot. The tree formed 
a conspicuous object in the surrounding landscape. 

While they looked, a foot soldier in red uniform and 
white breeches came along one of the paths, and stop- 
ping beneath the elm, took from his pocket a paper, 
which he proceeded to nail up by the four corners to the 
trunk. He drew back, looked at it, and went on his 
way. Bob got his glass from indoors and levelled it at 
the placard, but after looking for a long time he could 
make out nothing but a lion and a unicorn at the top. 
Anne, who was ready for church, moved away from the 
door, though it was yet early, and showed her intention 
of going by way of the elm. The paper had been so im- 
pressively nailed up that she was curious to read it even 
at this theological time. Bob took the opportunity of 
following, and reminded her of her promise. 

' Then walk behind me not at all close,' she said. 

' Yes,' he replied, immediately dropping behind. 


The ludicrous humility of his manner led her to add 
playfully over her shoulder, ' It serves you right, you 

'I deserve anything, but I must take the liberty to 
say that I hope my behaviour about Matil , in forget- 
ting you awhile, will not make ye wish to keep me always 
behind ? ' 

She replied confidentially, ' Why I am so earnest not 
to be seen with you is that I may appear to people to be 
independent of you. Knowing what I do of your weak- 
nesses I can do no otherwise. You must be schooled 
into ' 

' O, Anne,' sighed Bob, ' you hit me hard too hard ! 
If ever I do win you I am sure I shall have fairly earned 

'You are not what you once seemed to be,' she 
returned softly. ' I don't quite like to let myself love 
you.' The last words were not very audible, and as 
Bob was behind he caught nothing of them, nor did he 
see how sentimental she had become all of a sudden. 
They walked the rest of the way in silence, and coming 
to the tree read as follows : 


FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN, The French are now assembling 
the largest force that ever was prepared to invade this Kingdom, 
with the professed purpose of effecting our complete Ruin and 
Destruction. They do hot disguise their intentions, as they have 
often done to other Countries ; but openly boast that they will 
come over in such Numbers as cannot be resisted. 

Wherever the French have lately appeared they have spared 


neither Rich nor Poor, Old nor Young ; but like a Destructive 
Pestilence have laid waste and destroyed every Thing that before 
was fair and flourishing. 

On this occasion no man's service is compelled, but you are 
invited voluntarily to come forward in defence of everything that 
is dear to you, by entering your Names on the Lists which are sent 
to the Tything-man of every Parish, and engaging to act either as 
Associated Volunteers bearing Arms, as Pioneers and Labourers, or 
as Drivers of Waggons. 

As Associated Volunteers you will be called out only once a 
week, unless the actual Landing of the Enemy should render your 
further Services necessary. 

As Pioneers or Labourers you will be employed in Breaking up 
Roads to hinder the Enemy's advance. 

Those who have Pickaxes, Spades, Shovels, Bill-hooks, of other 
Working Implements, are desired to mention them to the Cohstable 
or Tything-man of their Parish, in order that they may be entered 
on the Lists opposite their Homes, to be used if necessary. . . . 

It is thought desirable to give you this Explanation, that you 
may not be ignorant of the Duties to which you may be called. 
But if the love of true Liberty and honest Fame has not ceased to 
animate the Hearts of Englishmen, Pay, though necessary, will be 
the least Part of your Reward. You will find your best Recompense 
in having done your Duty to your King and Country by driving back 
or destroying your old and implacable Enemy, envious of your 
Freedom and Happiness, and therefore seeking to destroy therh ; 
in having protected your Wives and Children from Death, or worse 
than Death, which will follow the Success of such Inveterate Foes. 

ROUSE, therefore, and unite as one man in the best of Causes ! 
United we may defy the World to conquer us ; but Victory will 
never belong to those who are slothful and unprepared.* 

I must go and join at once ! ' said Bob. 
Anne turned to him, all the playfulness gone from 
her face. ' I wish we lived in the north of England, Bob, 
so as to be further away from where he'll land ! ' she 
murmured uneasily. 

' Where we are would be Paradise to me, if you would 
only make it so.' 

Vide Preface. 


' It is not right to talk so lightly at such a serious 
time,' she thoughtfully returned, going on towards the 

On drawing near, they saw through the boughs of a 
clump of intervening trees, still leafless, but bursting 
into buds of amber hue, a glittering which seemed to be 
reflected from points of steel. In a few moments they 
heard above the tender chiming of the church bells the 
loud voice of a man giving words of command, at which 
all the metallic points suddenly shifted like the bristles 
of a porcupine, and glistened anew. 

' 'Tis the drilling,' said Loveday. ' They drill now 
between the services, you know, because they can't get 
the men together so readily in the week. It makes me 
feel that I ought to be doing more than I am ! ' 

When they had passed round the belt of trees, the 
company of recruits became visible, consisting of the 
able-bodied inhabitants of the hamlets thereabout, more 
or less known to Bob and Anne. They were assembled 
on the green plot outside the churchyard-gate, dressed 
in their common clothes, and the sergeant who had been 
putting them through their drill was the man who nailed 
up the proclamation. He was now engaged in untying 
a canvas money-bag, from which he drew forth a hand- 
ful of shillings, giving one to each man in payment for 
his attendance. 

' Men, I dismissed ye too soon parade, parade 
again, I say,' he cried. ' My watch is fast, I find. 
There's another twenty minutes afore the worship of 
God commences. Now all of you that ha'n't got fire- 
locks, fall in at the lower end. Eyes right and dress ! ' 

As every man was anxious to see how the rest stood, 
those at the end of the line pressed forward for that 
purpose, till the line assumed the form of a bow. 

' Look at ye now ! Why, you are all a crooking in ! 
Dress, dress ! ' 

They dressed forthwith; but impelled by the same 


motive they soon resumed their former figure, and so 
they were despairingly permitted to remain. 

' Now, I hope you'll have a little patience,' said the 
sergeant, as he stood in the centre of the arc, ' and pay 
strict attention to the word of command, just exactly as 
I give it out to ye ; and if I should go wrong, I shall 
be much obliged to any friend who'll put me right 
again, for I have only been in the army three weeks 
myself, and we are all liable to mistakes.' 

' So we be, so we be,' said the line heartily. 

' 'Tention, the whole, then. Poise fawlocks ! Very 
well done ! ' 

' Please, what must we do that haven't got no fire- 
locks ! ' said the lower end of the line in a helpless voice. 

' Now, was ever such a question ! Why, you must 
do nothing at all, but think how you'd poise 'em // you 
had 'em. You middle men, that are armed with hurdle- 
sticks and cabbage-stumps just to make-believe, must 
of course use 'em as if they were the real thing. Now 
then, -cock fawlocks ! Present! Fire! (Pretend to, I 
mean, and the same time throw yer imagination into the 
field o' battle.) Very good very good indeed ; except 
that some of you were a little too soon, and the rest a 
little too late.' 

' Please, sergeant, can I fall out, as I am master- 
player in the choir, and my bass-viol strings won't stand 
at this time o' year, unless they be screwed up a little 
before the passon comes in ? ' 

' How can you think of such trifles as churchgoing 
at such a time as this, when your own native country 
is on the point of invasion ? ' said the sergeant sternly. 
' And, as you know, the drill ends three minutes afore 
church begins, and that's the law, and it wants a quarter 
of an hour yet. Now, at the word Prime, shake the 
powder (supposing you've got it) into the priming-pan, 
three last fingers behind the rammer; then shut your 
pans, drawing your right arm nimble-like towards your 
209 O 


body. I ought to have told ye before this, that at Hand 
your katridge, seize it and bring it with a quick motion 
to your mouth, bite the top well off, and don't swaller 
so much of the powder as to make ye hawk and spet 
instead of attending to your drill. What's that man 
a-saying of in the rear rank ? ' 

' Please, sir, 'tis Anthony Cripplestraw, wanting to 
know how he's to bite off his katridge, when he haven't 
a tooth left in 's head ? ' 

' Man ! Why, what's your genius for war ? Hold 
it up to your right-hand man's mouth, to be sure, and 
let him nip it off for ye. Well, what have you to say, 
Private Tretnlett ? Don't ye understand English ? ' 

' Ask yer pardon, sergeant ; but what must we in- 
fantry of the awkward squad do if Boney comes afore 
we get our firelocks ? ' 

' Take a pike, like the rest of the incapables. You'll 
find a store of them ready in the corner of the chureh 
tower. Now then Shoulder r r r ' 

' There, they be tinging in the passon ! ' exclaimed 
David, Miller Loveday's man, who also formed one of 
the company, as the bells changed from chiming all 
three together to a quick beating of one. The whole 
line drew a breath of relief, threw down their arms, 
and began running off. 

'Well, then, I must dismiss ye,' said the sergeant. 
' Come back come back ! Next drill is Tuesday after- 
noon at four. And, mind, if your masters won't let ye 
leave work soon enough, tell me, and I'll write a line to 
Gover'ment ! 'Tention ! To the right left wheel, I 
mean no, no right wheel. Mar r r rch ! ' 

Some wheeled to the right and some to the left, and 
some obliging men, including Cripplestraw, tried to 
wheel both ways. 

* Stop, stop ; try again ! 'Cruits and comrades, un- 
fortunately when I'm in a hurry I can never remember 
my right hand from my left, and never could as a boy. 


You must excuse me, please. Practice makes perfect, as 
the saying is ; and, much as I've learnt since I 'listed, 
we always find something new. Now then, right wheel ! 
march ! halt ! Stand at ease ! dismiss ! I think that's 
the order o't, but I'll look in the Gover'ment book afore 
Tuesday.' * 

Many of the company who had been drilled preferred 
to go off and spend their shillings instead of entering 
the church; but Anne and Captain Bob passed in. 
Even the interior of the sacred edifice was affected by 
the agitation of the times. The religion of the country 
had, in fact, changed from love of God to hatred of 
Napoleon Buonaparte; and, as if to remind the devout 
of this alteration, the pikes for the pikemen (all those 
accepted men who were not otherwise armed) were kept 
in the church of each parish. There, against the wall, 
they always stood a whole sheaf of them, formed of 
new ash stems, with a spike driven in at one end, the 
stick being preserved from splitting by a ferule. And 
there they remained, year after year, in the corner of 
the aisle, till they were removed and placed under the 
gallery stairs, and thence ultimately to the belfry, where 
they grew black, rusty, and worm-eaten, and were gradu- 
ally stolen and carried off by sextons, parish clerks, 
whitewashers, window-menders, and other church servants 
for use at home as rake-stems, benefit-club staves, and 
pick-handles, in which degraded situations they may still 
occasionally be found. 

But in their new and shining state they had a terror 
for Anne, whose eyes were involuntarily drawn towards 
them as she sat at Bob's side during the service, filling 
her with bloody visions of their possible use not far 
from the very spot on which they were now assembled. 
The sermon, too, was on the subject of patriotism ; so 
that when they came out she began to harp uneasily 

* Vide Preface. 


upon the probability of their all being driven from their 

Bob assured her that with the sixty thousand regulars, 
the militia reserve of a hundred and twenty thousand, 
and the three hundred thousand volunteers, there was 
not much to fear. 

' But I sometimes have a fear that poor John will be 
killed,' he continued after a pause. ' He is sure to be 
among the first that will have to face the invaders, and 
the trumpeters get picked off.' 

' There is the same chance for him as for the others,' 
said Anne. 

'Yes yes the same chance, such as it is. You 
have never liked John since that affair of Matilda 
Johnson, have you ? ' 

' Why ? ' she quickly asked. 

' Well,' said Bob timidly, ' as it is a ticklish time for 
him, would it not be worth while to make up any differ- 
ences before the crash comes ? ' 

' I have nothing to make up,' said Anne, with some 
distress. She still fully believed the trumpet-major to 
have smuggled away Miss Johnson because of his own 
interest in that lady, which must have made his pro- 
fessions to herself a mere pastime ; but that very con- 
duct had in it the curious advantage to herself of setting 
Bob free. 

' Since John has been gone,' continued her com- 
panion, ' I have found out more of his meaning, and of 
what he really had to do with that woman's flight. Did 
you know that he had anything to do with it ? ' 

' Yes.' 

' That he got her to go away ? ' 

She looked at Bob with surprise. He was not ex- 
asperated with John, and yet he knew so much as this. 

' Yes,' she said ; ' what did it mean ? ' 

He did not explain to her then ; but the possibility 
of John's death, which had been newly brought home to 


him by the military events of the day, determined him 
to get poor John's character cleared. Reproaching 
himself for letting her remain so long with a mistaken 
idea of him, Bob went to his father as soon as they 
got home, and begged him to get Mrs. Loveday to 
tell Anne the true reason of John's objection to Miss 
Johnson as a sister-in-law. 

' She thinks it is because they were old lovers new 
met, and that he wants to marry her,' he exclaimed to 
his father in conclusion. 

' Then thafs the meaning of the split between Miss 
Nancy and Jack,' said the miller. 

' What, were they any more than common friends ? ' 
asked Bob uneasily. 

' Not on her side, perhaps.' 

' Well, we must do it,' replied Bob, painfully con- 
scious that common justice to John might bring them 
into hazardous rivalry, yet determined to be fair. ' Tell 
it all to Mrs. Loveday, and get her to tell Anne.' 





1 HE result of the explanation upon Anne was bitter 
self-reproach. She was so sorry at having wronged the 
kindly soldier that next morning she went by herself to 
the down, and stood exactly where his tent had covered 
the sod on which he had lain so many nights, thinking 
what sadness he must have suffered because of her at 
the time of packing up and going away. After that she 
wiped from her eyes the tears of pity which had come 
there, descended to the house, and wrote an impulsive 
letter to him, in which occurred the following passages, 
indiscreet enough under the circumstances : 

' I find all justice, all rectitude, on your side, John ; and all 
impertinence, all inconsiderateness, on mine. I am so much con- 
vinced of your honour in the whole transaction, that I shall for the 
future mistrust myself in everything. And if it be possible, when- 
ever I differ from you on any point I shall take an hour's time for 
consideration before I say that I differ. If I have lost your friend- 
ship, I have only myself to thank for it ; but I sincerely hope that 
you can forgive.' 

After writing this she went to the garden, where Bob 
was shearing the spring grass from the paths. ' What is 


John's direction ? ' she said, holding the sealed letter in 
her hand. 

' Exonbury Barracks,' Bob faltered, his countenance 

She thanked him and went indoors. When he came 
in, later in the day, he passed the door of her empty 
sitting-room and saw the letter on the mantelpiece. He 
disliked the sight of it. Hearing voices in the other 
room, he entered and found Anne and her mother there, 
talking to Cripplestraw, who had just come in with a 
message from Squire Derriman, requesting Miss Garland, 
as she valued the peace of snind of an old and troubled 
man, to go at once and see him. 

' I cannot go,' she said, not liking the risk that such a 
visit involved. 

An hour later Cripplestraw shambled again into the 
passage, on the same errand. 

' Maister's very poorly, and he hopes that you'll come, 
Mis'ess Anne. He wants to see 'ee very particular about 
the French.' 

Anne would have gone in a moment, but for the fear 
that some one besides the farmer might encounter her, 
and she answered as before. 

Another hour passed, and the wheels of a vehicle were 
heard. Cripplestraw had come for the third time, with a 
horse and gig ; he was dressed in his best clothes, and 
brought with him on this occasion a basket contain- 
ing raisins, almonds, oranges, and sweet cakes. Offering 
them to her as a gift from the old farmer, he repeated his 
request for her to accompany him, the gig and best mare 
having been sent as an additional inducement. 

'I believe the old gentleman is in love with you, 
Anne,' said her mother. 

' Why couldn't he drive down himself to see me ? ' 
Anne inquired of Cripplestraw. 

' He wants you at the house, please.' 

' Is Mr. Festus with him ? ' 


' No ; he's away to Budmouth.' 

' I'll go,' said she. 

' And I may come and meet you ? ' said Bob. 

' There's my letter what shall I do about that ? ' she 
said, instead of answering him. ' Take my letter to the 
post-office, and you may come,' she added. 

He said yes and went out, Cripplestraw retreating to 
the door till she should be ready. 

' What letter is it ? ' said her mother. 

' Only one to John,' said Anne. ' I have asked him 
to forgive my suspicions. I could do no less.' 

' Do you want to marry him ? ' asked Mrs. Loveday 

' Mother ! ' 

' Well ; he will take that letter as an encouragement. 
Can't you see that he will, you foolish girl ? ' . 

Anne did see instantly. ' Of course ! ' she said. ' Tell 
Robert that he need not go.' 

She went to her room to secure the letter. It was 
gone from the mantelpiece, and on inquiry it was found 
that the miller, seeing it there, had sent David with it to 
Budmouth hours ago. Anne said nothing, and set out 
for Oxwell Hall with Cripplestraw. 

' William,' said Mrs. Loveday to the miller when Anne 
was gone and Bob had resumed his work in the garden, 
' did you get that letter sent off on purpose ? ' 

'Well, I did. I wanted to make sure of it. John 
likes her, and now 'twill be made up ; and why shouldn't 
he marry her ? I'll start him in business, if so be she'll 
have him.' 

' But she is likely to marry Festus Derriman.' 
' ' I don't want her to marry anybody but John,' said 
the miller doggedly. 

' Not if she is in love with Bob, and has been for 
years, and he with her ? asked his wife triumphantly. 

'In love with Bob, and he with her?' repeated 



c Certainly,' said she, going off and leaving him to his 

When Anne reached the hall she found old Mr. 
Derriman in his customary chair. His complexion was 
more ashen, but his movement in rising at her entrance, 
putting a chair and shutting the door behind her, were 
much the same as usual. 

'Thank God you've come, my dear girl,' he said 
earnestly. ' Ah, you don't trip across to read to me 
now ! Why did ye cost me so much to fetch you ? Fie ! 
A horse and gig, and a man's time in going three times. 
And what I sent ye cost a good deal in Budmouth 
market, now everything is so dear there, and 'twould have 
cost more if I hadn't bought the raisins and oranges 
some months ago, when they were cheaper. I tell you 
this because we are old friends, and I have nobody else 
to tell my troubles to. But I don't begrudge anything 
to ye since you've come.' 

' I am not much pleased to come, even now,' said 
she. ' What can make you so seriously anxious to 
see me ? ' 

'Well, you be a good girl and true; and I've been 
thinking that of all people of the next generation that I 
can trust, you are the best. 'Tis my bonds and my title- 
deeds, such as they be, and the leases, you know, and a 
few guineas in packets, and more than these, my will, 
that I have to speak about. Now do ye come this way.' 

' O, such things as those ! ' she returned, with sur- 
prise. ' I don't understand those things at all.' 

' There's nothing to understand. 'Tis just this. 
The French will be here within two months ; that's 
certain. I have it on the best authority, that the army 
at Boulogne is ready, the boats equipped, the plans laid, 
and the First Consul only waits for a tide. Heaven 
knows what will become o' the men o' these parts ! 
But most likely the women will be spared. ' Now I'll 
show 'ee.' 



He led her across the hall to a stone staircase of 
semi-circular plan, which conducted to the cellars. 

1 Down here ? ' she said. 

' Yes ; I must trouble ye to come down here. I have 
thought and thought who is the woman that can best 
keep a secret for six months, and I say, " Anne Garland." 
You won't be married before then ? ' 

' O no ! ' murmured the young woman. 

' I wouldn't expect ye to keep a close tongue after 
such a thing as that. But it will not be necessary.' 

When they reached the bottom of the steps he struck 
a light from a tinder-box, and unlocked the middle one 
of three doors which appeared in the whitewashed wall 
opposite. The rays of the candle fell upon the vault and 
sides of a long low cellar, littered with decayed wood- 
work from other parts of the hall, among the rest stair- 
balusters, carved finials, tracery panels, and wainscoting. 
But what most attracted her eye was a small flagstone 
turned up in the middle of the floor, a heap of earth 
beside it, and a measuring-tape. Derriman went to the 
corner of the cellar, and pulled out a clamped box from 
under the straw. ' You be rather heavy, my dear, eh ? ' 
he said, affectionately addressing the box as he lifted it. 
' But you are going to be put in a safe place, you know, 
or that rascal will get hold of ye, and carry ye off and 
ruin me.' He then with some difficulty lowered the box 
into the hole, raked in the earth upon it, and lowered the 
flagstone, which he was a long time in fixing to his 
satisfaction. Miss Garland, who was romantically in- 
terested, helped him to brush away the fragments of 
loose earth ; and when he had scattered over the floor a 
little of the straw that lay about, they again ascended to 
upper air. 

' Is this all, sir ? ' said Anne. 

' Just a moment longer, honey. Will you come into 
the great parlour ? ' 

She followed him thither. 


' If anything happens to me while the fighting is going 
on it may be on these very fields you will know what 
to do,' he resumed. ' But first please sit down again, 
there's a dear, whilst I write what's in my head. See, 
there's the best paper, and a new quill that I've afforded 
myself for't.' 

' What a strange business ! I don't think I much 
like it, Mr. Derriman,' she said, seating herself. 

He had by this time begun to write, and murmured 
as he wrote 

' " Twenty-three and a half from N.W. Sixteen and 
three-quarters from N.E." There, that's all. Now I 
seal it up and give it to you to keep safe till I ask ye 
for it, or you hear of my ^being trampled down by the 

' What does it mean ? ' she asked, as she received the 

' Clk ! Ha ! ha ! Why, that's the distance of the box 
from the two corners of the cellar. I measured it before 
you came. And, my honey, to make all sure, if the 
French soldiery are after ye, tell your mother the mean- 
ing on't, or any other friend, in case they should put ye 
to death, and the secret be lost. But that I am sure I 
hope they won't do, though your pretty face will be a sad 
bait to the soldiers. I often have wished you was my 
daughter, honey ; and yet in these times the less cares 
a man has the better, so I am glad you bain't. Shall 
my man drive you home ? ' 

'No, no,' she said, much depressed by the words 
he had uttered. ' I can find my way. You need not 
trouble to come down.' 

' Then take care of the paper. And if you outlive 
me, you'll find I have not forgot you.' 





FESTUS DERRIMAN had remained in the Royal 
watering-place all that day, his horse being sick at 
stables; but, wishing to coax or bully from his uncle 
a remount for the coming summer, he set off on foot 
for Oxwell early in the evening. When he drew near 
to the village, or rather to the hall, which was a mile 
from the village, he overtook a slim, quick-eyed woman, 
sauntering along at a leisurely pace. She was fashion- 
ably dressed in a green spencer, with ' Mameluke ' sleeves, 
and wore a velvet Spanish hat and feather. 

' Good afternoon t'ye, ma'am,' said Festus, throwing 
a sword-and-pistol air into his greeting. ' You are out 
for a walk ? ' 

' I am out for a walk, captain,' said the lady, who 
had criticized him from the crevice of her eye, without 
seeming to do much more than continue her demure 
look forward, and gave the title as a sop to his apparent 

' From the town ? I'd swear it, ma'am ; 'pon my 
honour I would ! ' 

' Yes, I am from the town, sir,' said she. 

' Ah, you are a visitor ! I know every one of the 


regular inhabitants; we soldiers are in and out there 
continually. Festus Derriman, Yeomanry Cavalry, you 
know. The fact is, the watering-place is under our 
charge ; the folks will be quite dependent upon us for 
their deliverance in the coming struggle. We hold our 
lives in our hands, and theirs, I may say, in our pockets. 
What made you come here, ma'am, at such a critical 
time ? ' 

' I don't see that it is such a critical time ? ' 

' But it is, though ; and so you'd say if you was as 
much mixed up with the military affairs of the nation as 
some of us.' 

The lady smiled. ' The King is coming this year, 
anyhow,' said she. 

' Never ! ' said Festus firmly. ' Ah, you are one of 
the attendants at court perhaps, come on ahead to get 
the King's chambers ready, in case Boney should not 
land ? ' 

' No,' she said ; ' I am connected with the theatre, 
though not just at the present moment. I have been 
out of luck for the last year or two ; but I have fetched 
up again. I join the company when they arrive for the 

Festus surveyed her with interest. ' Faith ! and is it 
so ? Well, ma'am, what part do you play ? ' 

' I am mostly the leading lady the heroine,' she 
said, drawing herself up with dignity. 

' I'll come and have a look at ye if all's well, and the 
landing is put off hang me if I don't ! Hullo, hullo, 
what do I see ? ' 

His eyes were stretched towards a distant field, which 
Anne Garland was at that moment hastily crossing, on 
her way from the hall to Overcombe. 

' I must be off. Good-day to ye, dear creature ! ' he 
exclaimed, hurrying forward. 

The lady said, ' O, you droll monster ! ' as she 
smiled and watched him stride ahead. 



Festus bounded on over the hedge, across the inter- 
vening patch of green, and into the field which Anne 
was still crossing. In a moment or two she looked 
back, and seeing the well-known herculean figure of the 
yeoman behind her felt rather alarmed, though she de- 
termined to show no difference in her outward carriage. 
But to maintain her natural gait was beyond her powers. 
She spasmodically quickened her pace ; fruitlessly, how- 
ever, for he gained upon her, and when within a few 
strides of her exclaimed, ' Well, my darling 1 ' Anne 
started off at a run. 

Festus was already out of breath, and soon found 
that he was not likely to overtake her. On she went, 
without turning her head, till an unusual noise behind 
compelled her to look round. His face was in the act 
of falling back; he swerved on one side, and dropped 
like a log upon a convenient hedgerow-bank which bor- 
dered the path. There he lay quite still. 

Anne was somewhat alarmed ; and after standing at 
gaze for two or three minutes, drew nearer to him, a 
step and a half at a time, wondering and doubting, as a 
meek ewe draws near to some strolling vagabond who 
flings himself on the grass near the flock. 

' He is in a swoon ! ' she murmured. 

Her heart beat quickly, and she looked around. 
Nobody was in sight ; she advanced a step nearer still 
and observed him again. Apparently his face was 
turning to a livid hue, and his breathing had become 

' 'Tis not a swoon ; 'tis apoplexy ! ' she said, in deep 
distress. 'I ought to untie his neck.' But she was 
afraid to do this, and only drew a little closer still. 

Miss Garland was now within three feet of him, 
whereupon the senseless man, who could hold his breath 
no longer, sprang to his feet and darted at her, saying, 
' Ha ! ha ! a scheme for a kiss ! ' 

She felt his arm slipping round her neck ; but, 


twirling about with amazing dexterity, she wriggled from 
his embrace and ran away along the field. The force 
with which she had extricated herself was sufficient to 
throw Festus upon the grass, and by the time that he 
got upon his legs again she was many yards off. Utter- 
ing a word which was not exactly a blessing, he immedi- 
ately gave chase ; and thus they ran till Anne entered a 
meadow divided down the middle by a brook about six 
feet wide. A narrow plank was thrown loosely across 
at the point where the path traversed this stream, and 
when Anne reached it she at once scampered over. At 
the other side she turned her head to gather the pro- 
babilities of the situation, which were that Festus 
Derriman would overtake her even now. By a sudden 
forethought she stooped, seized the end of the plank, 
and endeavoured to drag it away from the opposite bank. 
But the weight was too great for her to do more than 
slightly move it, and with a desperate sigh she ran on 
again, having lost many valuable seconds. 

But her attempt, though ineffectual in dragging it 
down, had been enough to unsettle the little bridge; 
and when Derriman reached the middle, which he did 
half a minute later, the plank turned over on its edge, 
tilting him bodily into the river. The water was not 
remarkably deep, but as the yeoman feH flat on his 
stomach he was completely immersed ; and it was some 
time before he could drag himself out. When he arose, 
dripping on the bank, and looked around, Anne had 
vanished from the mead. Then Festus's eyes glowed 
like carbuncles, and he gave voice to fearful imprecations, 
shaking his fist in the soft summer air towards Anne, in 
a way that was terrible for any maiden to behold. 
Wading back through the stream, he walked along its 
bank with a heavy tread, the water running from his 
coat-tails, wrists, and the tips of his ears, in silvery 
dribbles, that sparkled pleasantly in the sun. Thus he 
hastened away, and went round by a by-path to the hall. 


Meanwhile the author of his troubles was rapidly 
drawing nearer to the mill, and soon, to her inex- 
pressible delight, she saw Bob coming to meet her. 
She had heard the flounce, and, feeling more secure 
from her pursuer, had dropped her pace to a quick 
walk. No sooner did she reach Bob than, overcome 
by the excitement of the moment, she flung herself into 
his arms. Bob instantly enclosed her in an embrace 
so very thorough that there was no possible danger of 
her falling, whatever degree of exhaustion might have 
given rise to her somewhat unexpected action ; and in 
this attitude they silently remained, till it was borne in 
upon Anne that the present was the first time in her 
life that she had ever been in such a position. Her 
face then burnt like a sunset, and she did not know 
how to look up at him. Feeling at length quite safe, 
she suddenly resolved not to give way to her first im- 
pulse to tell him the whole of what had happened, lest 
there should be a dreadful quarrel and fight between 
Bob and the yeoman, and great difficulties caused in 
the Loveday family on her account, the miller having 
important wheat transactions with the Derrimans. 

4 You seem frightened, dearest Anne,' said Bob 

4 Yes,' she replied. 4 1 saw a man I did not like 
the look of, and he was inclined to follow me. But, 
worse than that, I am troubled about the French. O 
Bob ! I am afraid you will be killed, and my mother, 
and John, and your father, and all of us hunted down ! ' 

* Now I have told you, dear little heart, that it 
cannot be. We shall drive 'em into the sea after a 
battle or two, even if they land, which I don't believe 
they will. We've got ninety sail of the line, and though 
it is rather unfortunate that we should have declared 
war against Spain at this ticklish time, there's enough 
for all.' And Bob went into elaborate statistics of the 
navy, army, militia, and volunteers, to prolong the time 


of holding her. When he had done speaking he drew 
rather a heavy sigh. 

1 What's the matter, Bob ? ' 

' I haven't been yet to offer myself as a sea-fencible, 
and I ought to have done it long ago.' 

' You are only one. Surely they can do without you ? ' 

Bob shook his head. She arose from her restful 
position, her eye catching his with a shamefaced expres- 
sion of having given way at last. Loveday drew from 
his pocket a paper, and said, as they slowly walked on, 
' Here's something to make us brave and patriotic. I 
bought it in Budmouth. Isn't it a stirring picture ? ' 

It was a hieroglyphic profile of Napoleon. The hat 
represented a maimed French eagle ; the face was in- 
geniously made up of human carcases, knotted and 
writhing together in such directions as to form a physi- 
ognomy ; a band, or stock, shaped to resemble the 
English Channel, encircled his throat, and seemed to 
choke him ; his epaulette was a hand tearing a cobweb 
that represented the treaty of peace with England ; and 
his ear was a woman crouching over a dying child.* 

' It is dreadful ! ' said Anne. ' I don't like to see it.' 

She had recovered from her emotion, and walked 
along beside him with a grave, subdued face. Bob did 
not like to assume the privileges of an accepted lover 
and draw her hand through his arm ; for, conscious that 
she naturally belonged to a politer grade than his own, 
he feared lest her exhibition of tenderness were an im- 
pulse which cooler moments might regret. A perfect 
Paul-and- Virginia life had not absolutely set in for him as 
yet, and it was not to be hastened by force. When they 
had passed over the bridge into the mill-front they saw 
the miller standing at the door with a face of concern. 

' Since you have been gone,' he said, ' a Government 
man has been here, and to all the houses, taking down 

* Vide Preface. 

225 P 


the numbers of the women and children, and their ages, 
and the number of horses and waggons that can be mus- 
tered, in case they have to retreat inland, out of the way 
of the invading army.' 

The little family gathered themselves together, all 
feeling the crisis more seriously than they liked to express. 
Mrs. Loveday thought how ridiculous a thing social 
ambition was in such a conjuncture as this, and vowed 
that she would leave Anne to love where she would. 
Anne, too, forgot the little peculiarities of speech and 
manner in Bob and his father, which sometimes jarred for 
a moment upon her more refined sense, and was thankful 
for their love and protection in this looming trouble. 

On going upstairs she remembered the paper which 
Farmer Derriman had given her, and searched in her 
bosom for it. She could not find it there. ' I must 
have left it on the table,' she said to herself. It did not 
matter ; she remembered every word. She took a pen 
and wrote a duplicate, which she put safely away. 

But Anne was wrong. She had, after all, placed the 
paper where she supposed, and there it ought to have 
been. But in escaping from Festus, when he feigned 
apoplexy, it had fallen out upon the grass. Five 
minutes after that event, when pursuer and pursued 
were two or three fields ahead, the gaily-dressed woman 
whom the yeoman had overtaken, peeped cautiously 
through the stile into the corner of the field which 
had been the scene of the scramble; and seeing the 
paper she climbed over, secured it, loosened the wafer 
without tearing the sheet, and read the memorandum 
within. Unable to make anything of its meaning, the 
saunterer put it in her pocket, and, dismissing the 
matter from her mind, went on by the by-path which 
led to the back of the mill. Here, behind the hedge, 
she stood and surveyed the old building for some time, 
after which she meditatively turned, and retraced her 
steps towards the Royal watering-place. 




I HE night which followed was historic and memorable. 
Mrs. Loveday was awakened by the boom of a distant 
gun : she told the miller, and they listened awhile. The 
sound was not repeated, but such was the state of their 
feelings that Mr. Loveday went to Bob's room and asked 
if he had heard it. Bob was wide awake, looking out of 
the window ; he had heard the ominous sound, and was 
inclined to investigate the matter. While the father and 
son were dressing they fancied that a glare seemed to be 
rising in the sky in the direction of the beacon hill. 
Not wishing to alarm Anne and her mother, the miller 
assured them that Bob and himself were merely going 
out of doors to inquire into the cause of the report, after 
which they plunged into the gloom together. A few 
steps' progress opened up more of the sky, which, as they 
had thought, was indeed irradiated by a lurid light ; but 
whether it came from the beacon or from a more distant 
point they were unable to clearly tell. They pushed on 
rapidly towards higher ground. 

Their excitement was merely of a piece with that of all 
men at this critical juncture. Everywhere expectation 
was at fever heat. For the last year or two only five-and- 


twenty miles of shallow water had divided quiet English 
homesteads from an enemy's army of a hundred and 
fifty thousand men. We had taken the matter lightly 
enough, eating and drinking as in the days of Noe, and 
singing satires without end. We punned on Buonaparte 
and his gunboats, chalked his effigy on stage-coaches, 
and published the same in prints. Still, between these 
bursts of hilarity, it was sometimes recollected that 
England was the only European country which had not 
succumbed to the mighty little man who was less than 
human in feeling, and more than human in will; that 
our spirit for resistance was greater than our strength ; 
and that the Channel was often calm. Boats built of 
wood which was greenly growing in its native forest 
three days before it was bent as wales to their sides, were 
ridiculous enough ; but they might be, after all, sufficient 
for a single trip between two visible shores. 

The English watched Buonaparte in these preparations, 
and Buonaparte watched the English. At the distance of 
Boulogne details were lost, but we were impressed on 
fine days by the novel sight of a huge army moving and 
twinkling like a school of mackerel under the rays of the 
sun. The regular way of passing an afternoon in the 
coast towns was to stroll up to the signal posts and chat 
with the lieutenant on duty there about the latest inimi- 
cal object seen at sea. About once a week there ap- 
peared in the newspapers either a paragraph concerning 
some adventurous English gentleman who had sailed out 
in a pleasure-boat till he lay near enough to Boulogne to 
see Buonaparte standing on the heights among his mar- 
shals; or else some lines about a mysterious stranger 
with a foreign accent, who, after collecting a vast deal 
of information on our resources, had hired a boat at 
a southern port, and vanished with it towards France 
before his intention could be divined. 

In forecasting his grand venture, Buonaparte postu- 
lated the help of Providence to a remarkable degree. 


Just at the hour when his troops were on board the 
flat-bottomed boats and ready to sail, there was to be 
a great fog, that should spread a vast obscurity over 
the length and breadth of the Channel, and keep the 
English blind to events on the other side. The fog was 
to last twenty-four hours, after which it might clear 
away. A dead calm was to prevail simultaneously with 
the fog, with the twofold object of affording the boats 
easy transit and dooming our ships to lie motionless. 
Thirdly, there was to be a spring tide, which should 
combine its manoeuvres with those of the fog and calm. 

Among the many thousands of minor Englishmen 
whose lives were affected by these tremendous designs 
may be numbered our old acquaintance Corporal Tul- 
lidge, who sported the crushed arm, and poor old Simon 
Burden, the dazed veteran who had fought at Minden. 
Instead of sitting snugly in the settle of the Old Ship, in 
the village adjoining Overcombe, they were obliged to 
keep watch on the hill. They made themselves as com- 
fortable as was possible in the circumstances, dwelling in 
a hut of clods and turf, with a brick chimney for cooking. 
Here they observed the nightly progress of the moon 
and stars, grew familiar with the heaving of moles, the 
dancing of rabbits on the hillocks, the distant hoot of 
owls, the bark of foxes from woods further inland ; but saw 
not a sign of the enemy. As, night after night, they 
walked round the two ricks which it was their duty to 
fire at a signal one being of furze for a quick flame, 
the other of turf, for a long, slow radiance they 
thought and talked of old times, and drank patriotically 
from a large wood flagon that was filled every day. 

Bob and his father soon became aware that the 
light was from the beacon. By the time that they 
reached the top it was one mass of towering flame, 
from which the sparks fell on the green herbage like a 
fiery dew ; the forms of the two old men being seen pass- 
ing and repassing in the midst of it. The Lovedays, 


who came up on the smoky side, regarded the scene for 
a moment, and then emerged into the light. 

' Who goes there ? ' said Corporal Tullidge, shoulder- 
ing a pike with his sound arm. ' O, 'tis neighbour 
Loveday ! ' 

' Did you get your signal to fire it from the east ? ' 
said the miller hastily. 

' No ; from Abbotsea Beach.' 

' But you are not to go by a coast signal ! ' 

' Chok' it all, wasn't the Lord- Lieutenant's direction, 
whenever you see Rainbarrow's Beacon burn to the 
nor'east'ard, or Haggardon to the nor'west'ard, or the 
actual presence of the enemy on the shore ? ' 

' But is he here ? ' 

' No doubt o't ! The beach light is only just 
gone down, and Simon heard the guns even better 
than I.' 

' Hark, hark ! I hear 'em ! ' said Bob. 

They listened with parted lips, the night wind blowing 
through Simon Burden's few teeth as through the ruins 
of Stonehenge. From far down on the lower levels came 
the noise of wheels and the tramp of horses upon the 
turnpike road. 

'Well, there must be something in it,' said Miller 
Loveday gravely. ' Bob, we'll go home and make the 
women-folk safe, and then I'll don my soldier's clothes 
and be off. God knows where our company will 
assemble ! ' 

They hastened down the hill, and on getting into the 
road waited and listened again. Travellers began to 
come up and pass them in vehicles of all descriptions. 
It was difficult to attract their attention in the dim light, 
but by standing on the top of a wall which fenced the 
road Bob was at last seen. 

' What's the matter ? ' he cried to a butcher who 
was flying past in his cart, his wife sitting behind him 
without a bonnet. 



' The French have landed ! ' said the man, without 
drawing rein. 

< Where ? ' shouted Bob. 

' In West Bay ; and all Budmouth is in uproar ! ' 
replied the voice, now faint in the distance. 

Bob and his father hastened on till they reached their 
own house. As they had expected, Anne and her 
mother, in common with most of the people, were both 
dressed, and stood at the door bonneted and shawled, 
listening to the traffic on the neighbouring highway, 
Mrs. Loveday having secured what money and small 
valuables they possessed in a huge pocket which extended 
all round her waist, and added considerably to her weight 
and diameter. 

' Tis true enough,' said the miller : < he's come ! You 
and Anne and the maid must be off to Cousin Jim's at 
King's-Bere, and when you get there you must do as 
they do. I must assemble with the company.' 

' And I ? ' said Bob. 

4 Thou'st better run to the church, and take a pike 
before they be all gone.' 

The horse was put into the gig, and Mrs. Loveday, 
Anne, and the servant-maid were hastily packed into the 
vehicle, the latter taking the reins ; David's duties as 
a fighting-man forbidding all thought of his domestic 
offices now. Then the silver tankard, teapot, pair of 
candlesticks like Ionic colums, and other articles too 
large to be pocketed were thrown into a basket and put 
up behind. Then came the leave-taking, which was as 
sad as it was hurried. Bob kissed Anne, and there was 
no affectation in her receiving that mark of affection as 
she said through her tears, ' God bless you ! ' At last 
they moved off in the dim light of dawn, neither of the 
three women knowing which road they were to take, but 
trusting to chance to find it. 

As soon as they were out of sight Bob went off for 
a pike, and his father, first new-flinting his firelock, pro- 


ceeded to don his uniform, pipe-claying his breeches with 
such cursory haste as to bespatter his black gaiters with 
the same ornamental compound. Finding when he was 
ready that no bugle had as yet sounded, he went with 
David to the cart-house, dragged out the waggon, and 
put therein some of the most useful and easily-handled 
goods, in case there might be an opportunity for con- 
veying them away. By the time this was done and the 
waggon pushed back and locked in, Bob had returned 
with his weapon, somewhat mortified at being doomed 
to this low form of defence. The miller gave his son a 
parting grasp of the hand, and arranged to meet him at 
King's-Bere at the first opportunity if the news were 
true ; if happily false, here at their own house. 

' Bother it all ! ' he exclaimed, looking at his stock of 

* What ? ' said Bob. 

' I've got no ammunition : not a blessed round ! ' 

' Then's what's the use of going ? ' asked his son. 

The miller paused. ' O, I'll go,' he said. ' Perhaps 
somebody will lend me a little if I get into a hot 
corner ? ' 

' Lend ye a little ! Father, you was always so simple ! ' 
said Bob reproachfully. 

c Well I can bagnet a few, anyhow,' said the miller. 

The bugle had been blown ere this, and Loveday the 
father disappeared towards the place of assembly, his 
empty cartridge-box behind him. Bob seized a brace of 
loaded pistols which he had brought home from the ship, 
and, armed with these and a pike, he locked the door 
and sallied out again towards the turnpike road. 

By this time the yeomanry of the district were also 
on the move, and among them Festus Derriman, who 
was sleeping at his uncle's, and had been awakened by 
Cripplestraw. About the time when Bob and his father 
were descending from the beacon the stalwart yeoman 
was standing in the stable-yard adjusting his straps, 


while Cripplestraw saddled the horse. Festus clanked 
up and down, looked gloomily at the beacon, heard the 
retreating carts and carriages, and called Cripplestraw to 
him, who came from the stable leading the horse at the 
same moment that Uncle Benjy peeped unobserved from 
a mullioned window above their heads, the distant light 
of the beacon fire touching up his features to the com- 
plexion of an old brass clock-face. 

' I think that before I start, Cripplestraw,' said Festus, 
whose lurid visage was undergoing a bleaching process 
curious to look upon, ' you shall go on to Budmouth, 
and make a bold inquiry whether the cowardly enemy is 
on shore as yet, or only looming in the bay.' 

' I'd go in a moment, sir,' said the other, ' if I hadn't 
my bad leg again. I should have joined my company 
afore this ; but they said at last drill that I was too old. 
So I shall wait up in the hay-loft for tidings as soon as I 
have packed you off, poor gentleman ! ' 

' Do such alarms as these, Cripplestraw, ever happen 
without foundation ? Buonaparte is a wretch, a miserable 
wretch, and this may be only a false alarm to disappoint 
such as me ? ' 

' O no, sir ; O no ! ' 

' But sometimes there are false alarms ? ' 

' Well, sir, yes. There was a pretended sally o' gun- 
boats last year.' 

' And was there nothing else pretended something 
more like this, for instance ? ' 

Cripplestraw shook his head. ' I notice yer modesty, 
Mr. Festus, in making light of things. But there never 
was, sir. You may depend upon it he's come. Thank 
God, my duty as a Local don't require me to go to the 
front, but only the valiant men like my master. Ah, if 
Boney could only see 'ee now, sir, he'd know too well 
there is nothing to be got from such a determined 
skilful officer but blows and musket-balls ! ' 

' Yes, yes. Cripplestraw, if I ride off to Budmouth 


and meet 'em, all my training will be lost. No skill is 
required as a forlorn hope.' 

' True ; that's a point, sir. You would outshine 'em 
all, and be picked off at the very beginning as a too- 
dangerous brave man.' 

' But if I stay here and urge on the faint-hearted 
ones, or get up into the turret-stair by that gateway, and 
pop at the invaders through the loophole, I shouldn't 
be so completely wasted, should I ? ' 

'You would not, Mr. Derriman. But, as you was 
going to say next, the fire in yer veins won't let ye do 
that. You are valiant ; very good : you don't want to 
husband yer valiance at home. The arg'ment is plain.' 

' If my birth had been more obscure,' murmured the 
yeoman, ' and I had only been in the militia, for instance, 
or among the humble pikemen, so much wouldn't have 
been expected of me of my fiery nature. Cripple- 
straw, is there a drop of brandy to be got at in the 
house? I don't feel very well.' 

' Dear nephew,' said the old gentleman from above, 
whom neither of the others had as yet noticed, ' I 
haven't any spirits opened so unfortunate ! But there's 
a beautiful barrel of crab-apple cider in draught; and 
there's some cold tea from last night.' 

'What, is he listening?' said Festus, staring up. 
' Now I warrant how glad he is to see me forced to go 
called out of bed without breakfast, and he quite safe, 
and sure to escape because he's an old man ! Cripple- 
straw, I like being in the yeomanry cavalry; but I wish 
I hadn't been in the ranks ; I wish I had been only the 
surgeon, to stay in the rear while the bodies are brought 
back to him I mean, I should have thrown my heart 
at such a time as this more into the labour of restoring 
wounded men and joining their shattered limbs together 
u-u-ugh ! more than I can into causing the wounds 
I am too humane, Cripplestraw, for the ranks ! ' 

' Yes, yes,' said his companion, depressing his spirits 


to a kindred level. ' And yet, such is fate, that, instead 
of joining men's limbs together, you'll have to get your 
own joined poor young sojer ! all through having 
such a warlike soul.' 

'Yes,' murmured Festus, and paused. 'You can't 
think how strange I feel here, Cripplestraw,' he con- 
tinued, laying his hand upon the centre buttons of his 
waistcoat. ' How I do wish I was only the surgeon ! ' 

He slowly mounted, and Uncle Benjy, in the mean- 
time, sang to himself as he looked on, l Twenty-three and 
half from N. W. Six-teen and three-quar-ters from N.E? 

'What's that old mummy singing?' said Festus 

' Only a hymn for preservation from our enemies, 
dear nephew,' meekly replied the farmer, who had heard 
the remark. ' Twen-ty-three and half from N. W. 1 

Festus allowed his horse to move on a few paces, and 
then turned again, as if struck by a happy invention. 
' Cripplestraw,' he began, with an artificial laugh, ' I am 
obliged to confess, after all I must see her ! 'Tisn't 
nature that makes me draw back 'tis love. I must go 
and look for her.' 

' A woman, sir ? ' 

'I didn't want to confess it; but 'tis a woman. 
Strange that I should be drawn so entirely against my 
natural wish to rush at 'em ! ' 

Cripplestraw, seeing which way the wind blew, found 
it advisable to blow in harmony. ' Ah, now at last I 
see, sir! Spite that few men live that be worthy to 
command ye ; spite that you could rush on, marshal the 
troops to victory, as I may say ; but then what of it ? 
there's the unhappy fate of being smit with the eyes of a 
woman, and you are unmanned ! Maister Derriman, who 
is himself, when he's got a woman round his neck like a 
millstone ? ' 

' It is something like that.' 

' I feel the case. Be you valiant ? I know, of 


course, the words being a matter of form be you 
valiant, I ask ? Yes, of course. Then don't you 
waste it in the open field. Hoard it up, I say, sir, 
for a higher class of war the defence of yer adorable 
lady. Think what you owe her at this terrible time ! 
Now, Maister Derriman, once more I ask ye to cast off 
that first haughty wish to rush to Budmouth, and to go 
where your mis'ess is defenceless and alone.' 

' I will, Cripplestraw, now you put it like that ! ' 

' Thank ye, thank ye heartily, Maister Derriman. Go 
now and hide with her.' 

' But can I ? Now, hang flattery ! can a man hide 
without a stain ? Of course I would not hide in any 
mean sense ; no, not I ! ' 

' If you be in love, 'tis plain you may, since it is not 
your own life, but another's, that you are concerned for, 
and you only save your own because it can't be helped.' 

' 'Tis true, Cripplestraw, in a sense. But will it be 
understood that way? Will they see it as a brave 
hiding ? ' 

' Now, sir, if you had not been in love I own to ye 
that hiding would look queer, but being to save the tears, 
groans, fits, swowndings, and perhaps death of a comely 
young woman, yer principle is good; you honourably 
retreat because you be too gallant to advance. This 
sounds strange, ye may say, sir; but it is plain enough 
to less fiery minds.' 

Festus did for a moment try to uncover his teeth in 
a natural smile, but it died away. ' Cripplestraw, you 
flatter me ; or do you mean it ? Well, there's truth in it. 
I am more gallant in going to her than in marching to 
the shore. But we cannot be too careful about our good 
names, we soldiers. I must not be seen. I'm off.' 

Cripplestraw opened the hurdle which closed the arch 

under the portico gateway, and Festus passed under, 

Uncle Benjamin singing, Twen-ty-three and a half from 

N. W, with a sort of sublime ecstasy, feeling, as Festus 



had observed, that his money was safe, and that the 
French would not personally molest an old man in such 
a ragged, mildewed coat as that he wore, which he had 
taken the precaution to borrow from a scarecrow in one 
of his fields for the purpose. 

Festus rode on full of his intention to seek out Anne, 
and under cover of protecting her retreat accompany 
her to King's-Bere, where he knew the Lovedays had 
relatives. In the lane he met Granny Seamore, who, 
having packed up all her possessions in a small basket, 
was placidly retreating to the mountains till all should 
be over. 

' Well, granny, have ye seen the French ? ' asked 

' No,' she said, looking up at him through her brazen 
spectacles. ' If I had I shouldn't ha' seed thee ! ' 

' Faugh ! ' replied the yeoman, and rode on. Just as 
he reached the old road, which he had intended merely 
to cross and avoid, his countenance fell. Some troops 
of regulars, who appeared to be dragoons, were rattling 
along the road. Festus hastened towards an opposite 
gate, so as to get within the field before they should see 
him; but, as ill-luck would have it, as soon as he got 
inside, a party of six or seven of his own yeomanry troop 
were straggling across the same field and making for 
the spot where he was. The dragoons passed without 
seeing him ; but when he turned out into the road again 
it was impossible to retreat towards Overcombe village 
because of the yeomen. So he rode straight on, and 
heard them coming at his heels. There was no other 
gate, and the highway soon became as straight as a 
bowstring. Unable thus to turn without meeting them, 
and caught like an eel in a water-pipe, Festus drew 
nearer and nearer to the fateful shore. But he did not 
relinquish hope. Just ahead there were cross-roads, 
and he might have a chance of slipping down one of 
them without being seen. On reaching the spot he 



found that he was not alone. A horseman had come 
up the right-hand lane and drawn rein. It was an officer 
of the German legion, and seeing Festus he held up his 
hand. Festus rode up to him and saluted. 

' It ist false report ! ' said the officer. 

Festus was a man again. He felt that nothing was 
too much for him. The officer, after some explanation 
of the cause of alarm, said that he was going across to 
the road which led by the moor, to stop the troops and 
volunteers converging from that direction, upon which 
Festus offered to give information along the Casterbridge 
road. The German crossed over, and was soon out of 
sight in the lane, while Festus turned back upon the way 
by which he had come. The party of yeomanry cavalry 
was rapidly drawing near, and he soon recognized among 
them the excited voices of Stubb of Duddle Hole, Noakes 
of Muckleford, and other comrades of his orgies at the 
hall. It was a magnificent opportunity, and Festus 
drew his sword. When they were within speaking 
distance he reined round his charger's head to Bud- 
mouth and shouted, ' On, comrades, on ! I am waiting 
for you. You have been a long time getting up with me, 
seeing the glorious nature of our deeds to-day ! ' 

' Well said, Derriman, well said ! ' replied the foremost 
of the riders. ' Have you heard anything new ? ' 

' Only that he's here with his tens of thousands, and 
that we are to ride to meet him sword in hand as soon 
as we have assembled in the town ahead here.' 

' O Lord ! ' said Noakes, with a slight falling of the 
lower jaw. 

' The man who quails now is unworthy of the name 
of yeoman,' said Festus, still keeping ahead of the other 
troopers and holding up his sword to the sun. ' O 
Noakes, fie, fie ! You begin to look pale, man.' 

'Faith, perhaps you'd look pale,' said Noakes, with 
an envious glance upon Festus's daring manner, ' if you 
had a wife and family depending upon ye ! ' 


' I'll take three frog-eating Frenchmen single-handed ! ' 
rejoined Derriman, still flourishing his sword. 

' They have as good swords as you ; as you will soon 
find,' said another of the yeomen. 

' If they were three times armed,' said Festus f ay, 
thrice three times I would attempt 'em three to one. 
How do you feel now, my old friend Stubb ? ' (turning 
to another of the warriors.) ' O, friend Stubb ! no 
bouncing health to our lady-loves in Oxwell Hall this 
summer as last. Eh, Brownjohn ? ' 

1 1 am afraid not,' said Brownjohn gloomily. 

' No rattling dinners at Stacie's Hotel, and the King 
below with his staff. No wrenching off door-knockers 
and sending 'em to the bakehouse in a pie that nobody 
calls for. Weeks of cut-and-thrust work rather ! ' 

' I suppose so.' 

' Fight how we may we shan't get rid of the cursed 
tyrant before autumn, and many thousand brave men 
will lie low before it's done,' remarked a young yeoman 
with a calm face, who meant to do his duty without 
much talking. 

' No grinning matches at Mai-dun Castle this summer,' 
Festus resumed ; ' no thread-the-needle at Greenhill 
Fair, and going into shows and driving the showman 
crazy with cock-a-doodle-doo ! ' 

' I suppose not.' 

' Does it make you seem just a trifle uncomfortable, 
Noakes ? Keep up your spirits, old comrade. Come, 
forward ! we are only ambling on like so many donkey- 
women. We have to get into Budmouth, join the rest 
of the troop, and then march along the coast west'ard, 
as I imagine. At this rate we shan't be well into the 
thick of battle before twelve o'clock. Spur on, com- 
rades. No dancing on the green, Lockham, this year 
in the moonlight ! You was tender upon that girl ; 
gad, what will become o' her in the struggle ? ' 

'Come, come, Derriman,' expostulated Lockham 


' this is all very well, but I don't care for 't. I am as 
ready to fight as any man, but ' 

' Perhaps when you get into battle, Derriman, and 
see what it's like, your courage will cool down a little,' 
added Noakes on the same side, but with secret admira- 
tion of Festus's reckless bravery. 

' I shall be bayoneted first,' said Festus. < Now 
let's rally, and on ! ' 

Since Festus was determined to spur on wildly, the 
rest of the yeomen did not like to seem behindhand, 
and they rapidly approached the town. Had they been 
calm enough to reflect, they might have observed that 
for the last half-hour no carts or carriages had met 
them on the way, as they had done further back. It 
was not till the troopers reached the turnpike that they 
learnt what Festus had known a quarter of an hour 
before. At the intelligence Derriman sheathed his 
sword with a sigh ; and the party soon fell in with 
comrades who had arrived there before them, where- 
upon the source and details of the alarm were boister- 
ously discussed. 

' What, didn't you know of the mistake till now ? ' 
asked one of these of the new-comers. ' Why, when I 
was dropping over the hill by the cross-roads I looked 
back and saw that man talking to the messenger, and 
he must have told him the truth.' The speaker pointed 
to Festus. They turned their indignant eyes full upon 
him. That he had sported with their deepest feelings, 
while knowing the rumour to be baseless, was soon 
apparent to all. 

' Beat him black and blue with the flat of our blades ! ' 
shouted two or three, turning their horses' heads to drop 
back upon Derriman, in which move they were followed 
by most of the party. 

But Festus, foreseeing danger from the unexpected 
revelation, had already judiciously placed a few interven- 
ing yards between himself and his fellow-yeomen, and 


now, clapping spurs to his horse, rattled like thunder 
and lightning up the road homeward. His ready flight 
added hotness to their pursuit, and as he rode and 
looked fearfully over his shoulder he could see them 
following with enraged faces and drawn swords, a posi- 
tion which they kept up for a distance of more than a 
mile. Then he had the satisfaction of seeing them drop 
off one by one, and soon he and his panting charger 
remained alone on the highway. 




ITE stopped and reflected how to turn this rebuff to 
advantage. Baulked in his project of entering the 
watering-place and enjoying congratulations upon his 
patriotic bearing during the advance, he sulkily con- 
sidered that he might be able to make some use of his 
enforced retirement by riding to Overcombe and glori- 
fying himself in the eyes of Miss Garland before the 
truth should have reached that hamlet. Having thus 
decided he spurred on in a better mood. 

By this time the volunteers were on the march, and 
as Derriman ascended the road he met the Overcombe 
company, in which trudged Miller Loveday shoulder to 
shoulder with the other substantial householders of 
the place and its neighbourhood, duly equipped with 
pouches, cross-belts, firelocks, flint-boxes, pickers, worms, 
magazines, priming - horns, heel -ball, and pomatum. 
There was nothing to be gained by further suppression 
of the truth, and briefly informing them that the danger 
was not so immediate as -had been supposed, Festus 
galloped on. At the end of another mile he met a large 
number of pikemen, including Bob Loveday, whom the 
yeoman resolved to sound upon the whereabouts of 


Anne. The circumstances were such as to lead Bob to 
speak more frankly than he might have done on reflec- 
tion, and he told Festus the direction in which the 
women had been sent. Then Festus informed the 
group that the report of invasion was false, upon which 
they all turned to go homeward with greatly relieved 

Bob walked beside Derriman's horse for some dis- 
tance. Loveday had instantly made up his mind to 
go and look for the women, and ease their anxiety by 
letting them know the good news as soon as possible. 
But he said nothing of this to Festus during their 
return together; nor did Festus tell Bob that he also 
had resolved to seek them out, and by anticipating 
every one else in that enterprise, make of it a glorious 
opportunity for bringing Miss Garland to her senses 
about him. He still resented the ducking that he had 
received at her hands, and was not disposed to let 
that insult pass without obtaining some sort of sweet 

As soon as they had parted Festus cantered on over 
the hill, meeting on his way the Longpuddle volunteers, 
sixty rank and file, under Captain Cunningham; the 
Casterbridge company, ninety strong (known as the 
' Consideration Company ' in those days), under Captain 
Strickland ; and others all with anxious faces and 
covered with dust. Just passing the word to them and 
leaving them at halt, he proceeded rapidly onward in 
the direction of King's-Bere. Nobody appeared on the 
road for some time, till after a ride of several miles he 
met a stray corporal of volunteers, who told Festus in 
answer to his inquiry that he had certainly passed no 
gig full of women of the kind described. Believing that 
he had missed them by following the highway, Derriman 
turned back into a lane along which they might have 
chosen to journey for privacy's sake, notwithstanding 
the badness, and uncertainty of its track. Arriving 


again within five miles of Overcombe, he at length 
heard tidings of the wandering vehicle and its precious 
burden, which, like the Ark when sent away from the 
country of the Philistines, had apparently been left to 
the instincts of the beast that drew it. A labouring 
man, just at daybreak, had seen the helpless party going 
slowly up a distant drive, which he pointed out. 

No sooner had Festus parted from this informant 
than he beheld Bob approaching, mounted on the 
miller's second and heavier horse. Bob looked rather 
surprised, and Festus felt his coming glory in danger. 

' They went down that lane,' he said, signifying pre- 
cisely the opposite direction to the true one. ' I, too, 
have been on the look-out for missing friends.' 

As Festus was riding back there was no reason to 
doubt his information, and Loveday rode on as mis- 
directed. Immediately that he was out of sight Festus 
reversed his course, and followed the track which Anne 
and her companions were last seen to pursue. 

This road had been ascended by the gig in question 
nearly two hours before the present moment. Molly, 
the servant, held the reins, Mrs. Loveday sat beside her, 
and Anne behind. Their progress was but slow, owing 
partly to Molly's want of skill, and partly to the steep- 
ness of the road, which here passed over downs of some 
extent, and was rarely or never mended. It was an 
anxious morning for them all, and the beauties of the 
early summer day fell upon unheeding eyes. They were 
too anxious even for conjecture, and each sat thinking 
her own thoughts, occasionally glancing westward, or 
stopping the horse to listen to sounds from more fre- 
quented roads along which other parties were retreating. 
Once, while they listened and gazed thus, they saw a 
glittering in the distance, and heard the tramp of many 
horses. It was a large body of cavalry going in the 
direction of the King's watering-place, the same regiment 
of dragoons, in fact, which Festus had seen further on 


in its course. The women in the gig had no doubt 
that these men were marching at once to engage the 
enemy. By way of varying the monotony of the journey 
Molly occasionally burst into tears of horror, believing 
Buonaparte to be in countenance and habits precisely 
what the caricatures represented him. Mrs. Loveday 
endeavoured to establish cheerfulness by assuring her 
companions of the natural civility of the French nation, 
with whom unprotected women were safe from injury, 
unless through the casual excesses of soldiery beyond 
control. This was poor consolation to Anne, whose 
mind was more occupied with Bob than with herself, 
and a miserable fear that she would never again see him 
alive so paled her face and saddened her gaze forward, 
that at last her mother said, ' Who was you thinking of, 
my dear ? ' Anne's only reply was a look at her mother, 
with which a tear mingled. 

Molly whipped the horse, by which she quickened his 
pace for five yards, when he again fell into the perverse 
slowness that showed how fully conscious he was of being 
the master-mind and chief personage of the four. When- 
ever there was a pool of water by the road he turned 
aside to drink a mouthful, and remained there his own 
time in spite of Molly's tug at the reins and futile fly- 
flapping on his rump. They were now in the chalk 
district, where there were no hedges, and a rough attempt 
at mending the way had been made by throwing down 
huge lumps of that glaring material in heaps, without 
troubling to spread it or break them abroad. The jolting 
here was most distressing, and seemed about to snap 
the springs. 

' How that wheel do wamble,' said Molly at last. 
She had scarcely spoken when the wheel came off, and 
all three were precipitated over it into the road. 

Fortunately the horse stood still, and they began to 
gather themselves up. The only one of the three who 
had suffered in the least from the fall was Anne, and she 


was only conscious of a severe shaking which had half 
stupefied her for the time. The wheel lay flat in the 
road, so that there was no possibility of driving further 
in their present plight. They looked around for help. 
The only friendly object near was a lonely cottage, from 
its situation evidently the home of a shepherd. 

The horse was unharnessed and tied to the back of 
the gig, and the three women went across to the house. 
On getting close they found that the shutters of all the 
lower windows were closed, but on trying the door it 
opened to the hand. Nobody was within; the house 
appeared to have been abandoned in some confusion, 
and the probability was that the shepherd had fled on 
hearing the alarm. Anne now said that she felt the 
effects of her fall too severely to be able to go any further 
just then, and it was agreed that she should be left there 
while Mrs. Loveday and Molly went on for assistance, 
the elder lady deeming Molly too young and vacant- 
minded to be trusted to go alone. Molly suggested 
taking the horse, as the distance might be great, each of 
them sitting alternately on his back while the other led 
him by the head. This they did, Anne watching them 
vanish down the white and lumpy road. 

She then looked round the room, as well as she could 
do so by the light from the open door. It was plain, 
from the shutters being closed, that the shepherd had 
left his house before daylight, the candle and ex- 
tinguisher on the table pointing to the same conclusion. 
Here she remained, her eyes occasionally sweeping the 
bare, sunny expanse of down, that was only relieved from 
absolute emptiness by the overturned gig hard by. The 
sheep seemed to have gone away, and scarcely a bird 
flew across to disturb the solitude. Anne had risen 
early that morning, and leaning back in the withy chair, 
which she had placed by the door, she soon fell into 
an uneasy doze, from which she was awakened by the 
distant tramp of a horse. Feeling much recovered from 


the effects of the overturn, she eagerly rose and looked 
out. The horse was not Miller Loveday's, but a power- 
ful bay, bearing a man in full yeomanry uniform. 

Anne did not wait to recognize further ; instantly re- 
entering the house, she shut the door and bolted it. In 
the dark she sat and listened : not a sound. At the 
end of ten minutes ; thinking that the rider if he were 
not Festus had carelessly passed by, or that if he were 
Festus he had not seen her, she crept softly upstairs 
and peeped out of the window. Excepting the spot of 
shade, formed by the gig as before, the down was quite 
bare. She then opened the casement and stretched out 
her neck. 

' Ha, young madam ! There you are ! I knew 'ee ! 
Now you are caught ! ' came like a clap of thunder from 
a point three or four feet beneath her, and turning down 
her frightened eyes she beheld Festus Derriman lurking 
close to the wall. His attention had first been attracted 
by her shutting the door of the cottage ; then by the 
overturned gig ; and after making sure, by examining 
the vehicle, that he was not mistaken in her identity, he 
had dismounted, led his horse round to the side, and 
crept up to entrap her. 

Anne started back into the room, and remained still 
as a stone. Festus went on ' Come, you must trust to 
me. The French have landed. I have been trying to 
meet with you every hour since that confounded trick 
you played me. You threw me into the water. Faith, 
it was well for you I didn't catch ye then ! I should 
have taken a revenge in a better way than I shall now. 
I mean to have that kiss of ye. Come, Miss Nancy; 
do you hear ? 'Tis no use for you to lurk inside there. 
You'll have to turn out as soon as Boney comes over 
the hill. Are you going to open the door, I say, and 
speak to me in a civil way ? What do you think I am, 
then, that you should barricade yourself against me as if 
I was a wild beast or Frenchman ? Open the door, or 


put out your head, or do something ; or 'pon my soul 
I'll break in the door ! ' 

It occurred to Anne at this point of the tirade that 
the best policy would be to temporize till somebody 
should return, and she put out her head and face, now 
grown somewhat pale. 

' That's better,' said Festus. ' Now I can talk to you. 
Come, my dear, will you open the door ? Why should 
you be afraid of me ? ' 

' I am not altogether afraid of you ; I am safe from 
the French here,' said Anne, not very truthfully, and 
anxiously casting her eyes over the vacant down. 

' Then let me tell you that the alarm is false, and 
that no landing has been attempted. Now will you 
open the door and let me in? I am tired. I have 
been on horseback ever since daylight, and have come 
to bring you the good tidings.' 

Anne looked as if she doubted the news. 

'Come,' said Festus. 

' No, I cannot let you in,' she murmured, after a pause. 

4 Dash my wig, then,' he cried, his face flaming up, 
' I'll find a way to get in ! Now, don't you provoke 
me ! You don't know what I am capable of. I ask 
you again, will you open the door ? ' 

Why do you wish it ? ' she said faintly. 

' I have told you I want to sit down ; and I want to 
ask you a question.' 

' You can ask me from where you are.' 

' I cannot ask you properly. It is about a serious 
matter : whether you will accept my heart and hand. I 
am not going to throw myself at your feet ; but I ask 
you to do your duty as a woman, namely, give your 
solemn word to take my name as soon as the war is 
over and I have time to attend to you. I scorn to ask 
it of a haughty hussy who will only speak to me through 
a window ; however, I put it to you for the last time, 



There was no sign on the down of anybody's return, 
and she said, ' I'll think of it, sir.' 

'You have thought of it long enough; I want to 
know. Will you or won't you ? ' 

' Very well ; I think I will.' And then she felt that 
she might be buying personal safety too dearly by 
shuffling thus, since he would spread the report that 
she had accepted him, and cause endless complication. 
' No,' she said, ' I have changed my mind. I cannot 
accept you, Mr. Derriman.' 

' That's how you play with me ! ' he exclaimed, 
stamping. ' " Yes," one moment ; " No," the next. 
Come, you don't know what you refuse. That old hall 
is my uncle's own, and he has nobody else to leave it 
to. As soon as he's dead I shall throw up farming and 
start as a squire. And now,' he added with a bitter 
sneer, ' what a fool you are to hang back from such a 
chance ! ' 

' Thank you, I don't value it,' said Anne. 

' Because you hate him who would make it yours ? ' 

' It may not lie in your power to do that.' 

'What has the old fellow been telling you his 
affairs ? ' 


' Then why do you mistrust me ? Now, after this 
will you open the door, and show that you treat me as a 
friend if you won't accept me as a lover ? I only want 
to sit and talk to you.' 

Anne thought she would trust him ; it seemed almost 
impossible that he could harm her. She retired from 
the window and went downstairs. When her hand was 
upon the bolt of the door, her mind misgave her. In- 
stead of withdrawing it she remained in silence where 
she was, and he began again 

' Are you going to unfasten it ? ' 

Anne did not speak. 

' Now, dash my wig, I will get at you ! You've tried 


me beyond endurance. One kiss would have been 
enough that day in the mead; now I'll have forty, 
whether you will or no ! ' 

He flung himself against the door ; but as it was 
bolted, and had in addition a great wooden bar across it, 
this produced no effect. He was silent for a moment, 
and then the terrified girl heard him attempt the 
shuttered window. She ran upstairs and again scanned 
the down. The yellow gig still lay in the blazing sun- 
shine, and the horse of Festus stood by the corner of 
the garden nothing else was to be seen. At this 
moment there came to her ear the noise of a sword 
drawn from its scabbard ; and, peeping over the window- 
sill, she saw her tormentor drive his sword between the 
joints of the shutters, in an attempt to rip them open. 
The sword snapped off in his hand. With an impre- 
cation he pulled out the piece, and returned the two 
halves to the scabbard. 

' Ha ! ha ! ' he cried, catching sight of the top of her 
head. ' 'Tis only a joke, you know ; but I'll get in all 
the same. All for a kiss 1 But never mind, we'll do 
it yet ! ' He spoke in an affectedly light tone, as if 
ashamed of his previous resentful temper ; but she 
could see by the livid back of his neck that he was 
brimful of suppressed passion. ' Only a jest, you know,' 
he went on. ' How are we going to do it now ? Why, 
in this way. I go and get a ladder, and enter at the 
upper window where my love is. And there's the 
ladder lying under that corn-rick in the first enclosed 
field. Back in two minutes, dear ! ' 

He ran off, and was lost to her view. 




fearfully surveyed her position. The upper 
windows of the cottage were of flimsiest lead-work, and 
to keep him out would be hopeless. She felt that not 
a moment was to be lost in getting away. Running 
downstairs she opened the door, and then it occurred 
to her terrified understanding that there would be no 
chance of escaping him by flight afoot across such 
an extensive down, since he might mount his horse 
and easily ride after her. The animal still remained 
tethered at the corner of the garden; if she could 
release him and frighten him away before Festus re- 
turned, there would not be quite such odds against 
her. She accordingly unhooked the horse by reaching 
over the bank, and then, pulling off her muslin necker- 
chief, flapped it in his eyes to startle him. But the 
gallant steed did not move or flinch ; she tried again, 
and he seemed rather pleased than otherwise. At this 
moment she heard a cry from the cottage, and turning, 
beheld her adversary approaching round the corner of 
the building. 

' I thought I should tole out the mouse by that 
trick ! ' cried Festus exultingly. Instead of going for a 


ladder, he had simply hidden himself at the back to 
tempt her down. 

Poor Anne was now desperate. The bank on which 
she stood was level with the horse's back, and the crea- 
ture seemed quiet as a lamb. With a determination of 
which she was capable in emergencies, she seized the 
rein, flung herself upon the sheepskin, and held on by 
the mane. The amazed charger lifted his head, sniffed, 
wrenched his ears hither and thither, and started off at 
a frightful speed across the down. 

' O, my heart and limbs ! ' said Festus under his 
breath, as, thoroughly alarmed, he gazed after her. ' She 
on Champion ! She'll break her neck, and I shall be 
tried for manslaughter, and disgrace will be brought 
upon the name of Derriman ! ' 

Champion continued to go at a stretch-gallop, but 
he did nothing worse. Had he plunged or reared, 
Derriman's fears might have been verified, and Anne 
have come with deadly force to the ground. But the 
course was good, and in the horse's speed lay a com- 
parative security. She was scarcely shaken in her 
precarious half-horizontal position, though she was awed 
to see the grass, loose stones, and other objects pass 
her eyes like strokes whenever she opened them, which 
was only just for a second at intervals of half a minute ; 
and to feel how wildly the stirrups swung, and that what 
struck her knee was the bucket of the carbine, and that 
it was a pistol-holster which hurt her arm. 

They quickly cleared the down, and Anne became 
conscious that the course of the horse was homeward. 
As soon as the ground began to rise towards the outer 
belt of upland which lay between her and the coast, 
Champion, now panting and reeking with moisture, 
lessened his speed in sheer weariness, and proceeded at 
a rapid jolting trot. Anne felt that she could not hold 
on half so well ; the gallop had been child's play com- 
pared with this. They were in a lane, ascending to a 


ridge, and she made up her mind for a fall. Over the 
ridge rose an animated spot, higher and higher; it 
turned out to be the upper part of a man, and the man 
to be a soldier. Such was Anne's attitude that she 
only got an occasional glimpse of him; and, though 
she feared that he might be a Frenchman, she feared 
the horse more than the enemy, as she had feared 
Festus more than the horse. Anne had energy enough 
left to cry, ' Stop him ; stop him ! ' as the soldier drew 

He, astonished at the sight of a military horse with a 
bundle of drapery across his back, had already placed 
himself in the middle of the lane, and he now held out 
his arms till his figure assumed the form of a Latin cross 
planted in the roadway. Champion drew near, swerved, 
and stood still almost suddenly, a check sufficient to 
send Anne slipping down his flank to the ground. The 
timely friend stepped forward and helped her to her feet, 
when she saw that he was John Loveday. 

' Are you hurt ? ' he said hastily, having turned quite 
pale at seeing her fall. 

' O no ; not a bit,' said Anne, gathering herself up 
with forced briskness, to make light of the misadventure 

' But how did you get in such a place ? ' 

' There, he's gone ! ' she exclaimed, instead of reply 
ing, as Champion swept round John Loveday and 
cantered off triumphantly in the direction of Oxwell, a 
performance which she followed with her eyes. 

' But how did you come upon his back, and whose 
horse is it ? ' 

' I will tell you.' 


' I cannot tell you.' 

John looked steadily at her, saying nothing. 

' How did you come here ? ' she asked. ' Is it true 
that the French have not landed at all ? ' 

' Quite true ; the alarm was groundless. I'll tell you 

2 53 


all about it. You look very tired. You had better sit 
down a few minutes. Let us sit on this bank.' 

He helped her to the slope indicated, and continued, 
still as if his thoughts were more occupied with the 
mystery of her recent situation than with what he was 
saying : ' We arrived at Budmouth Barracks this morn- 
ing, and are to lie there all the summer. I could not 
write to tell father we were coming. It was not because 
of any rumour of the French, for we knew nothing 
of that till we met the people on the road, and the 
colonel said in a moment the news was false. Buona- 
parte is not even at Boulogne just now. I was anxious 
to know how you had borne the fright, so I hastened 
to Overcombe at once, as soon as I could get out of 

Anne, who had not been at all responsive to his dis- 
course, now swayed heavily against him, and looking 
quickly down he found that she had silently fainted. To 
support her in his arms was of course the impulse of a 
moment. There was no water to be had, and he could 
think of nothing else but to hold her tenderly till she 
came round again. Certainly he desired nothing more. 

Again he asked himself, what did it all mean ? 

He waited, looking down upon her tired eyelids, and 
at the row of lashes lying upon each cheek, whose 
natural roundness showed itself in singular perfection 
now that the customary pink had given place to a pale 
luminousness caught from the surrounding atmosphere. 
The dumpy ringlets about her forehead and behind 
her poll, which were usually as tight as springs, had 
been partially uncoiled by the wildness of her ride, 
and hung in split locks over her forehead and neck. 
John, who, during the long months of his absence, 
had lived only to meet her again, was in a state 
of ecstatic reverence, and bending down he gently 
kissed her. 

Anne was just becoming conscious. 


* O, Mr. Derriman, never, never ! ' she murmured, 
sweeping her face with her hand. 

' I thought he was at the bottom of it,' said John. 

Anne opened her eyes, and started back from him. 
< What is it ? ' she said wildly. 

' You are ill, my dear Miss Garland,' replied John in 
trembling anxiety, and taking her hand. 

' I am not ill, I am wearied out ! ' she said. ' Can't 
we walk on ? How far are we from Overcombe ? ' 

' About a mile. But tell me, somebody has been 
hurting you frightening you. I know who it was ; it 
was Derriman, and that was his horse. Now do you 
tell me all.' 

Anne reflected. 'Then if I tell you,' she said, 
'will you discuss with me what I had better do, and 
not for the present let my mother and your father 
know ? I don't want to alarm them, and I must not 
let my affairs interrupt the business connexion between 
the mill and the hall that has gone on for so many 

The trumpet - major promised, and Anne told the 
adventure. His brow reddened as she went on, and 
when she had done she said, 'Now you are angry. 
Don't do anything dreadful, will you? Remember 
that this Festus will most likely succeed his uncle at 
Oxwell, in spite of present appearances, and if Bob 
succeeds at the mill there should be no enmity between 

' That's true. I won't tell Bob. Leave him to me. 
Where is Derriman now? On his way home, I sup- 
pose. When I have seen you into the house I will 
deal with him quite quietly, so that he shall say nothing 
about it.' 

' Yes, appeal to him, do ! Perhaps he will be better 

They walked on together, Loveday seeming to ex- 
perience much quiet bliss. 



c I came to look for you,' he said, ' because of that 
dear, sweet letter you wrote.' 

' Yes, I did write you a letter,' she admitted, with 
misgiving, now beginning to see her mistake. ' It was 
.because I was sorry I had blamed you.' 

' I am almost glad you did blame me,' said John 
cheerfully, ' since, if you had not, the letter would not 
have come. I have read it fifty times a day.' 

This put Anne into an unhappy mood, and they pro- 
ceeded without much further talk till the mill chimneys 
were visible below them. John then said that he would 
leave her to go in by herself. 

' Ah, you are going back to get into some danger on 
my account ? ' 

' I can't get into much danger with such a fellow as 
he, can I ? ' said John, smiling. 

' Well, no,' she answered, with a sudden carelessness 
of tone. It was indispensable that he should be un- 
deceived, and to begin the process by taking an affectedly 
light view of his personal risks was perhaps as good a 
way to do it as any. Where friendliness was construed 
as love, an assumed indifference was the necessary ex- 
pression for friendliness. 

So she let him go ; and, bidding him hasten back as 
soon as he could, went down the hill, while John's feet 
retraced the upland. 

The trumpet-major spent the whole afternoon and 
evening in that long and difficult search for Festus 
Derriman. Crossing the down at the end of the second 
hour he met Molly and Mrs. Loveday. The gig had 
been repaired, they had learnt the groundlessness of the 
alarm, and they would have been proceeding happily 
enough but for their anxiety about Anne. John told 
them shortly that she had got a lift home, and proceeded 
on his way. 

The worthy object of his search had in the mean- 
time been plodding homeward on foot, sulky at the loss 


of his charger, encumbered with his sword, belts, high 
boots, and uniform, and in his own discomfiture care- 
less whether Anne Garland's life had been endangered 
or not. 

At length Derriman reached a place where the road 
ran between high banks, one of which he mounted and 
paced along as a change from the hard trackway. Ahead 
of him he saw an old man sitting down, with eyes fixed 
on the dust of the road, as if resting and meditating at 
one and the same time. Being pretty sure that he re- 
cognized his uncle in that venerable figure, Festus came 
forward stealthily, till he was immediately above the old 
man's back. The latter was clothed in faded nankeen 
breeches, speckled stockings, a drab hat, and a coat 
which had once been light blue, but from exposure as a 
scarecrow had assumed the complexion and fibre of a 
dried pudding-cloth. The farmer was, in fact, returning 
to the hall, which he had left in the morning some time 
later than his nephew, to seek an asylum in a hollow tree 
about two miles off. The tree was so situated as to 
command a view of the building, and Uncle Benjy had 
managed to clamber up inside this natural fortification 
high enough to watch his residence through a hole in the 
bark, till, gathering from the words of occasional passers- 
by that the alarm was at least premature, he had ventured 
into daylight again. 

He was now engaged in abstractedly tracing a diagram 
in the dust with his walking-stick, and muttered words 
to himself aloud. Presently he arose and went on his 
way without turning round. Festus was curious enough 
to descend and look at the marks. They represented 
an oblong, with two semi-diagonals, and a little square 
in the middle. Upon the diagonals were the figures 
20 and 17, and on each side of the parallelogram stood 
a letter signifying the point of the compass. 

' What crazy thing is running in his head now ? ' 
said Festus to himself, with supercilious pity, recollecting 
257 R 


that the farmer had been singing those very numbers 
earlier in the morning. Being able to make nothing of 
it, he lengthened his strides, and treading on tiptoe 
overtook his relative, saluting him by scratching his 
back like a hen. The startled old farmer danced round 
like a top, and gasping, said, as he perceived his nephew, 
' What, Festy ! not thrown from your horse and killed, 
then, after all ! ' 

' No, nunc. What made ye think that ? ' 

'Champion passed me about an hour ago, when I 
was in hiding poor timid soul of me, for I had nothing 
to lose by the French coming and he looked awful 
with the stirrups dangling and the saddle empty. 'Tis 
a gloomy sight, Festy, to see a horse cantering without 
a rider, and I thought you had been feared you had 
been thrown off and killed as dead as a nit.' 

' Bless your dear old heart for being so anxious ! 
And what pretty picture were you drawing just now 
with your -walking-stick ! ' 

' O, that ! That is only a way I have of amusing 
myself. It showed how the French might have advanced 
to the attack, you know. Such trifles nil the head of a 
weak old man like me.' 

4 Or the place where something is hid away money, 
for instance ? ' 

' Festy,' said the farmer reproachfully, ' you always 
know I use the old glove in the bedroom cupboard for 
any guinea or two I possess.' 

' Of course I do, 3 said Festus ironically. 

They had now reached a lonely inn about a mile 
and a half from the hall, and, the farmer not responding 
to his nephew's kind invitation to come in and treat 
him, Festus entered alone. He was dusty, draggled, 
and weary, and he remained at the tavern long. The 
trumpet-major, in the meantime, having searched the 
roads in vain, heard in the course of the evening of the 
yeoman's arrival at this place, and that he would pro- 


bably be found there still. He accordingly approached 
the door, reaching it just as the dusk of evening changed 
to darkness. 

There was no light in the passage, but John pushed 
on at hazard, inquired for Derriman, and was told that 
he would be found in the back parlour alone. When 
Loveday first entered the apartment he was unable to 
see anything, but following the guidance of a vigorous 
snoring, he came to the settle, upon which Festus lay 
asleep, his position being faintly signified by the shine 
of his buttons and other parts of his uniform. John 
laid his hand upon the reclining figure and shook him, 
and by degrees Derriman stopped his snore and 
sat up. 

' Who are you ? ' he said, in the accents of a man who 
has been drinking hard. ' Is it you, dear Anne ? Let 
me kiss you ; yes, I will.' 

' Shut your mouth, you pitiful blockhead ; I'll teach 
you genteeler manners than to persecute a young woman 
in that way ! ' and taking Festus by the ear, he gave it 
a good pull. Festus broke out with an oath, and struck 
a vague blow in the air with his fist; whereupon the 
trumpet-major dealt him a box on the right ear, and a 
similar one on the left to artistically balance the first. 
Festus jumped up and used his fists wildly, but without 
any definite result. 

' Want to fight, do ye, eh ? ' said John. ' Nonsense ! 
you can't fight, you great baby, and never could. You 
are only fit to be smacked ! ' and he dealt Festus a 
specimen of the same on the cheek with the palm of his 

' No, sir, no ! O, you are Loveday, the young man 
she's going to be married to, I suppose? Dash me, I 
didn't want to hurt her, sir.' 

'Yes, my name is Loveday; and you'll know where 
to find me, since we can't finish this to-night. Pistols 
or swords, whichever you like, my boy. Take that, and 


that, so that you may not forget to call upon me ! ' and 
again he smacked the yeoman's ears and cheeks. ' Do 
you know what it is for, eh ? ' 

' No, Mr. Loveday, sir yes, I mean, I do.' 

' What is it for, then ? I shall keep smacking until 
you tell me. Gad ! if you weren't drunk, I'd half kill 
you here to-night.' 

' It is because I served her badly. Damned if I care ! 
I'll do it again, and be hanged to 'ee ! Where's my horse 
Champion? Tell me that,' and he hit at the trumpet- 

John parried this attack, and taking him firmly by 
the collar, pushed him down into the seat, saying, ' Here 
I hold 'ee till you beg pardon for your doings to-day. 
Do you want any more of it, do you ? ' And he shook 
the yeoman to a sort of jelly. 

' I do beg pardon no, I don't. I say this, that you 
shall not take such liberties with old Squire Derriman's 
nephew, you dirty miller's son, you flour-worm, you smut 
in the corn ! I'll call you out to-morrow morning, and 
have my revenge.' 

' Of course you will ; that's what I came for.' And 
pushing him back into the corner of the settle, Loveday 
went out of the house, feeling considerable satisfaction 
at having got himself into the beginning of as nice a 
quarrel about Anne Garland as the most jealous lover 
could desire. 

But of one feature in this curious adventure he had 
not the least notion that Festus Derriman, misled by 
the darkness, the fumes of his potations, and the constant 
sight of Anne and Bob together, never once supposed 
his assailant to be any other man than Bob, believing 
the trumpet-major miles away. 

There was a moon during the early part of John's 

walk home, but when he had arrived within a mile of 

Overcombe the sky clouded over, and rain suddenly 

began to fall with some violence. Near him was a 



wooden granary on tall stone staddles, and perceiving 
that the rain was only a thunderstorm which would soon 
pass away, he ascended the steps and entered the door- 
way, where he stood watching the half-obscured moon 
through the streaming rain. Presently, to his surprise, 
he beheld a female figure running forward with great 
rapidity, not towards the granary for shelter, but towards 
open ground. What could she be running for in that 
direction ? The answer came in the appearance of his 
brother Bob from that quarter, seated on the back of his 
father's heavy horse. As soon as the woman met him, 
Bob dismounted and caught her in his arms. They 
stood locked together, the rain beating into their uncon- 
scious forms, and the horse looking on. 

The trumpet-major fell back inside the granary, and 
threw himself on a heap of empty sacks which lay in the 
corner : he had recognized the woman to be Anne. 
Here he reclined in a stupor till he was aroused by 
the sound of voices under him, the voices of Anne and 
his brother, who, having at last discovered that they 
were getting wet, had taken shelter under the granary 

' I have been home,' said she. ' Mother and Molly 
have both got back long ago. We were all anxious 
about you, and I came out to look for you. O, Bob, I 
am so glad to see you again ! ' 

John might have heard every word of the conversa- 
tion, which was continued in the same strain for a long 
time; but he stopped his ears, and would not. Still 
they remained, and still was he determined that they 
should not see him. With the conserved hope of more 
than half a year dashed away in a moment, he could yet 
feel that the cruelty of a protest would be even greater 
than its inutility. It was absolutely by his own contriv- 
ance that the situation had been shaped. Bob, left to 
himself, would long ere this have been the husband of 
another woman. 



The rain decreased, and the lovers went on. John 
looked after them as they strolled, aqua-tinted by the 
weak moon and mist. Bob had thrust one of his arms 
through the rein of the horse, and the other was round 
Anne's waist. When they were lost behind the declivity 
the trumpet-major came out, and walked homeward even 
more slowly than they. As he went on, his face put off 
its complexion of despair for one of serene resolve. For 
the first time in his dealings with friends he entered 
upon a course of counterfeiting, set his features to con- 
ceal his thought, and instructed his tongue to do like- 
wise. He threw fictitiousness into his very gait, even 
now, when there was nobody to see him, and struck at 
stems of wild parsley with his regimental switch as he 
had used to do when soldiering was new to him, and life 
in general a charming experience. 

Thus cloaking his sickly thought, he descended to 
the mill as the others had done before him, occasionally 
looking down upon the wet road to notice how close 
Anne's little tracks were to Bob's all the way along, and 
how precisely a curve in his course was followed by a 
curve in hers. But after this he erected his head and 
walked so smartly up to the front door that his spurs 
rang through the court. 

They had all reached home, but before any of them 
could speak he cried gaily, 'Ah, Bob, I have been 
thinking of you ! By God, how are you, my boy ? No 
French cut-throats after all, you see. Here we are, well 
and happy together again.' 

' A good Providence has watched over us,' said Mrs. 
Loveday cheerfully. ' Yes, in all times and places we are 
in God's hand.' 

' So we be, so we be ! ' said the miller, who still shone 
in all the fierceness of uniform. ' Well, now we'll ha'e a 
drop o' drink.' 

'There's none,' said David, coming forward with a 
drawn face. 



< What ! ' said the miller. 

'Afore I went to church for a pike to defend my 
native country from Boney, I pulled out the spigots of 
all the barrels, maister ; for, thinks I damn him ! since 
we can't drink it ourselves, he shan't have it, nor none 
of his men.' 

' But you shouldn't have done it till you was sure he'd 
come ! ' said the miller, aghast. 

' Chok' it all, I was sure ! ' said David. ' I'd sooner 
see churches fall than good drink wasted ; but how was 
I to know better ? ' 

' Well, well ; what with one thing and another this day 
will cost me a pretty penny ! ' said Loveday, bustling off 
to the cellar, which he found to be several inches deep in 
stagnant liquor. ' John, how can I welcome 'ee ? ' he 
continued hopelessly, on his return to the room. ' Only 
go and see what he's done ! ' 

' I've ladled up a drap wi' a spoon, trumpet-major,' 
said David. ' Tisn't bad drinking, though it do taste a 
little of the floor, that's true.' 

John said that he did not require anything at all ; and 
then they all sat down to supper, and were very tempe- 
rately gay with a drop of mild elder-wine which Mrs. Love- 
day found in the bottom of a jar. The trumpet-major, 
adhering to the part he meant to play, gave humorous 
accounts of his adventures since he had last sat there. 
He told them that the season was to be a very lively one 
that the royal family was coming, as usual, and many 
other interesting things ; so that when he left them to 
return to barracks few would have supposed the British 
army to contain a lighter-hearted man. 

Anne was the only one who doubted the reality of this 
behaviour. When she had gone up to her bedroom she 
stood for some time looking at the wick of the candle as 
if it were a painful object, the expression of her face 
being shaped by the conviction that John's afternoon 
words when he helped her out of the way of Champion 


were not in accordance with his words to-night, and that 
the dimly-realized kiss during her faintness was no ima- 
ginary one. But in the blissful circumstances of having 
Bob at hand again she took optimist views, and per- 
suaded herself that John would soon begin to see her in 
the light of a sister. 




1 O cursory view, John Loveday seemed to accomplish 
this with amazing ease. Whenever he came from bar- 
racks to Overcombe, which was once or twice a week, 
he related news of all sorts to her and Bob with infinite 
zest, and made the time as happy a one as had ever 
been known at the mill, save for himself alone. He 
said nothing of Festus, except so far as to inform Anne 
that he had expected to see him and been disappointed. 
On the evening after the King's arrival at his seaside 
residence John appeared again, staying to supper and 
describing the royal entry, the many tasteful illumina- 
tions and transparencies which had been exhibited, the 
quantities of tallow candles burnt for that purpose, and 
the swarms of aristocracy who had followed the King 

When supper was over Bob went outside the house 
to shut the shutters, which had, as was often the case, 
been left open some time after lights were kindled within. 
John still sat at the table when his brother approached 
the window, though the others had risen and retired. 
Bob was struck by seeing through the pane how John's 
face had changed. Throughout the supper-time he had 


been talking to Anne in the gay tone habitual with him 
now, which gave greater strangeness to the gloom of his 
present appearance. He remained in thought for a 
moment, took a letter from his breast-pocket, opened it, 
and, with a tender smile at his weakness, kissed the 
writing before restoring it to its place. The letter was 
one that Anne had written to him at Exonbury. 

Bob stood perplexed ; and then a suspicion crossed 
his mind that John, from brotherly goodness, might be 
feigning a satisfaction with recent events which he did 
not feel. Bob now made a noise with the shutters, at 
which the trumpet-major rose and went out, Bob at 
once following him. 

' Jack,' said the sailor ingenuously, ' I'm terribly 
sorry that I've done wrong.' 

' How ? ' asked his brother. 

' In courting our little Anne. Well, you see, John, 
she was in the same house with me, and somehow or 
other I made myself her beau. But I have been think- 
ing that perhaps you had the first claim on her, and if 
so, Jack, I'll make way for 'ee. I I don't care for her 
much, you know not so very much, and can give her 
up very well. It is nothing serious between us at all. 
Yes, John, you try to get her; I can look elsewhere.' 
Bob never knew how much he loved Anne till he found 
himself making this speech of renunciation. 

' O Bob, you are mistaken ! ' said the trumpet- 
major, who was not deceived. ' When I first saw 
her I admired her, and I admire her now, and like 
her. I like her so well that I shall be glad to see you 
marry her.' 

' But,' replied Bob, with hesitation, ' I thought I saw 
you looking very sad, as if you were in love ; I saw 
you take out a letter, in short. That's what it was dis- 
turbed me and made me come to you.' 

' O, I see your mistake ! ' said John, laughing 



At this minute Mrs. Loveday and the miller, who 
were taking a twilight walk in the garden, strolled round 
near to where the brothers stood. She talked volubly 
on events in Budmouth, as most people did at this 
time. ' And they tell me that the theatre has been 
painted up afresh,' she was saying, ' and that the actors 
have come for the season, with the most lovely actresses 
that ever were seen.' 

When they had passed by John continued, 'I am 
in love, Bob ; but not with Anne.' 

' Ah ! who is it then ? ' said the mate hopefully. 

' One of the actresses at the theatre,' John replied, 
with a concoctive look at the vanishing forms of Mr. 
and Mrs. Loveday. ' She is a very lovely woman, you 
know. But we won't say anything more about it it 
dashes a man so.' 

' O, one of the actresses ! ' said Bob, with open mouth. 

' But don't you say anything about it ! ' continued 
the trumpet-major heartily. ' I don't want it known.' 

' No, no I won't, of course. May I not know her 
name ? ' 

' No, not now, Bob. I cannot tell 'ee,' John 
answered, and with truth, for Loveday did not know 
the name of any actress in the world. 

When his brother had gone, Captain Bob hastened 
off in a state of great animation to Anne, whom he 
found on the top of a neighbouring hillock which the 
daylight had scarcely as yet deserted. 

' You have been a long time coming, sir,' said she, 
in sprightly tones of reproach. 

' Yes, dearest ; and you'll be glad to hear why. I've 
found out the whole mystery yes why he's queer, 
and everything.' 

Anne looked startled. 

' He's up to the gunnel in love ! We must try to help 
him on in it, or I fear he'll go melancholy-mad like.' 

' We help him ? ' she asked faintly. 


' He's lost his heart to one of the play-actresses at 
Budmouth, and I think she slights him.' 

' O, I am so glad ! ' she exclaimed. 

' Glad that his venture don't prosper ? ' 

' O no ; glad he's so sensible. How long is it since 
that alarm of the French ? ' 

' Six weeks, honey. Why do you ask ? ' 

' Men can forget in six weeks, can't they, Bob ? ' 

The impression that John had really kissed her still 

' Well, some men might,' observed Bob judicially. 
' / couldn't. Perhaps John might. I couldn't forget 
you in twenty times as long. Do you know, Anne, I 
half thought it was you John cared about ; and it was a 
weight off my heart when he said he didn't.' 

< Did he say he didn't ? ' 

' Yes. He assured me himself that the only person 
in the hold of his heart was this lovely play-actress, and 
nobody else.' 

' How I should like to see her ! ' 

' Yes. So should I.' 

' I would rather it had been one of our own neigh- 
bours' girls, whose birth and breeding we know of; but 
still, if that is his taste, I hope it will end well for him. 
How very quick he has been ! I certainly wish we 
could see her.' 

' I don't know so much as her name. He is very 
close, and wouldn't tell a thing about her.' 

' Couldn't we get him to go to the theatre with us ? 
and then we could watch him, and easily find out the 
right one. Then we would learn if she is a good young 
woman ; and if she is, could we not ask her here, and so 
make it smoother for him? He has been very gay 
lately ; that means budding love : and sometimes be- 
tween his gaieties he has had melancholy moments ; 
that means there's difficulty.' 

Bob thought her plan a good one, and resolved to 


put it in practice on the first available evening. Anne 
was very curious as to whether John did really cherish 
a new passion, the story having quite surprised her. 
Possibly it was true ; six weeks had passed since John 
had shown a single symptom of the old attachment, and 
what could not that space of time effect in the heart 
of a soldier whose very profession it was to leave girls 
behind him ? 

After this John Loveday did not come to see them 
for nearly a month, a neglect which was set down by 
Bob as an additional proof that his brother's affections 
were no longer exclusively centred in his old home. 
When at last he did arrive, and the theatre-going was 
mentioned to him, the flush of consciousness which 
Anne expected to see upon his face was unaccountably 

' Yes, Bob ; I should very well like to go to the 
theatre,' he replied heartily. ' Who is going besides ? ' 

' Only Anne, 5 Bob told him, and then it seemed to 
occur to the trumpet-major that something had been 
expected of him. He rose and said privately to Bob 
with some confusion, ' O yes, of course we'll go. As I 
am connected with one of the in short I can get you 
in for nothing, you know. At least let me manage 

' Yes, yes. I wonder you didn't propose to take us 
before, Jack, and let us have a good look at her.' 

' I ought to have. You shall go on a King's night. 
You won't want me to point her out, Bob ; I have my 
reasons at present for asking it ? ' 

' We'll be content with guessing,' said his brother. 

When the gallant John was gone, Anne observed, 
' Bob, how he is changed ! I watched him. He showed 
no feeling, even when you burst upon him suddenly 
with the subject nearest his heart.' 

' It must be because his suit don't fay,' said Captain 





IN two or three days a message arrived asking them to 
attend at the theatre on the coming evening, with the 
added request that they would dress in their gayest 
clothes, to do justice to the places taken. Accordingly, 
in the course of the afternoon they drove off, Bob 
having clothed himself in a splendid suit, recently pur- 
chased as an attempt to bring himself nearer to Anne's 
style when they appeared in public together. As finished 
off by this dashing and really fashionable attire, he was 
the perfection of a beau in the dog-days; pantaloons 
and boots of the newest make; yards and yards of 
muslin wound round his neck, forming a sort of asylum 
for the lower part of his face ; two fancy waistcoats, and 
coat-buttons like circular shaving glasses. The absurd 
extreme of female fashion, which was to wear muslin 
dresses in January, was at this time equalled by that of 
the men, who wore clothes enough in August to melt 
them. Nobody would have guessed from Bob's presen- 
tation now that he had ever been aloft on a dark night 
in the Atlantic, or knew the hundred ingenuities that 
could be performed with a rope's end and a marline- 
spike as well as his mother tongue. 


It was a day of days. Anne wore her celebrated 
celestial blue pelisse, her Leghorn hat, and her muslin 
dress with the waist under the arms; the latter being 
decorated with excellent Honiton lace bought of the 
woman who travelled from that place to Overcombe and 
its neighbourhood with a basketful of her own manu- 
facture, and a cushion on which she worked by the 
wayside. John met the lovers at the inn outside the 
town, and after stabling the horse they entered the town 
together, the trumpet-major informing them that the 
watering-place had never been so full before, that the 
Court, the Prince of Wales, and everybody of con- 
sequence was there, and that an attic could scarcely be 
got for money. The King had gone for a cruise in his 
yacht, and they would be in time to see him land. 

Then drums and fifes were heard, and in a minute 
or two they saw Sergeant Stanner advancing along the 
street with a firm countenance, fiery poll, and rigid 
staring eyes, in front of his recruiting-party. The 
sergeant's sword was drawn, and at intervals of two or 
three inches along its shining blade were impaled 
fluttering one-pound notes, to express the lavish bounty 
that was offered. He gave a stern, suppressed nod of 
friendship to our people, and passed by. Next they 
came up to a waggon, bowered over with leaves and 
flowers, so that the men inside could hardly be seen. 

' Come to see the King, hip-hip hurrah ! ' cried a 
voice within, and turning they saw through the leaves 
the nose and face of Cripplestraw. The waggon con- 
tained all Derriman's workpeople. 

' Is your master here ? ' said John. 

'No, trumpet-major, sir. But young maister is 
coming to fetch us at nine o'clock, in case we should be 
too blind to drive home.' 

' O ! where is he now ? ' 

' Never mind,' said Anne impatiently, at which the 
trumpet-major obediently moved on. 


By the time they reached the pier it was six o'clock ; 
the royal yacht was returning ; a fact announced by the 
ships in the harbour firing a salute. The King came 
ashore with his hat in his hand, and returned the 
salutations of the well-dressed crowd in his old indis- 
criminate fashion. While this cheering and waving of 
handkerchiefs was going on Anne stood between the two 
brothers, who protectingly joined their hands behind 
her back, as if she were a delicate piece of statuary 
that a push might damage. Soon the King had passed, 
and receiving the military salutes of the piquet, joined 
the Queen and princesses at Gloucester Lodge, the 
homely house of red brick in which he unostentatiously 

As there was yet some little time before the theatre 
would open, they strayed upon the velvet sands, and 
listened to the songs of the sailors, one of whom extem- 
porized for the occasion : 

' Portland Road the King aboard, the King aboard ! 
Portland Road the King aboard, 
We weighed and sailed from Portland Road ! ' * 

When they had looked on awhile at the combats at 
single-stick which were in progress hard by, and seen 
the sum of five guineas handed over to the modest 
gentleman who had broken most heads, they returned 
to Gloucester Lodge, whence the King and other 
members of his family now reappeared, and drove, at 
a slow trot, round to the theatre in carriages drawn by 
the Hanoverian white horses that were so well known 
in the town at this date. 

When Anne and Bob entered the theatre they found 
that John had taken excellent places, and concluded 
that he had got them for nothing through the influence 
of the lady of his choice. As a matter of fact he had 

* Vide Preface. 


paid full prices for those two seats, like any other out- 
sider, and even then had a difficulty in getting them, it 
being a King's night. When they were settled he him- 
self retired to an obscure part of the pit, from which the 
stage was scarcely visible. 

' We can see beautifully,' said Bob, in an aristocratic 
voice, as he took a delicate pinch of snuff, and drew out 
the magnificent pocket-handkerchief brought home from 
the East for such occasions. 'But I am afraid poor 
John can't see at all.' 

' But we can see him,' replied Anne, ' and notice by 
his face which of them it is he is so charmed with. 
The light of that corner candle falls right upon his 

By this time the King had appeared in his place, 
which was overhung by a canopy of crimson satin 
fringed with gold. About twenty places were occupied 
by the royal family and suite ; and beyond them was a 
crowd of powdered and glittering personages of fashion, 
completely filling the centre of the little building; 
though the King so frequently patronized the local 
stage during these years that the crush was not in- 

The curtain rose and the play began. To-night it 
was one of Colman's, who at this time enjoyed great 
popularity, and Mr. Bannister supported the leading 
character. Anne, with her hand privately clasped in 
Bob's, and looking as if she did not know it, partly 
watched the piece and partly the face of the impres- 
sionable John who had so soon transferred his affections 
elsewhere. She had not long to wait. When a certain 
one of the subordinate ladies of the comedy entered on 
the stage the trumpet-major in his corner not only 
looked conscious, but started and gazed with parted lips. 

'This must be the one,' whispered Anne quickly. 
' See, he is agitated ! ' 

She turned to Bob, but at the same moment his hand 
273 s 


convulsively closed upon hers as he, too, strangely fixed 
his eyes upon the newly-entered lady. 

1 What is it ? ' 

Anne looked from one to the other without regarding 
the stage at all. Her answer came in the voice of the 
actress who now spoke for the first time. The accents 
were those of Miss Matilda Johnson. 

One thought rushed into both their minds on the 
instant, and Bob was the first to utter it. 

' What is she the woman of his choice after all ? ' 

' If so, it is a dreadful thing ! ' murmured Anne. 

But, as may be imagined, the unfortunate John was 
as much surprised by this rencounter as the other two. 
Until this moment he had been in utter ignorance of the 
theatrical company and all that pertained to it. More- 
over, much as he knew of Miss Johnson, he was not 
aware that she had ever been trained in her youth as an 
actress, and that after lapsing into straits and difficulties 
for a couple of years she had been so fortunate as to 
again procure an engagement here. 

The trumpet-major, though not prominently seated, 
had been seen by Matilda already, who had observed 
still more plainly her old betrothed and Anne in the 
other part of the house. John was not concerned on 
his own account at being face to face with her, but at 
the extraordinary suspicion that this conjuncture must 
revive in the minds of his best beloved friends. After 
some moments of pained reflection he tapped his knee. 

' Gad, I won't explain ; it shall go as it is ! ' he said. 
' Let them think her mine. Better that than the truth, 
after all.' 

Had personal prominence in the scene been at this 
moment proportioned to intentness of feeling, the whole 
audience, regal and otherwise, would have faded into an 
indistinct mist of background, leaving as the sole emer- 
gent and telling figures Bob and Anne at one point, the 
trumpet-major on the left hand, and Matilda at the 


opposite corner of the stage. But fortunately the dead- 
lock of awkward suspense into which all four had fallen 
was terminated by an accident. A messenger entered 
the King's box with despatches. There was an instant 
pause in the performance. The despatch-box being 
opened the King read for a few moments with great 
interest, the eyes of the whole house, including those of 
Anne Garland, being anxiously fixed upon his face; for 
terrible events fell as unexpectedly as thunderbolts at 
this critical time of our history. The King at length 

beckoned to Lord , who was immediately behind 

him, the play was again stopped, and the contents of the 
despatch were publicly communicated to the audience. 

Sir Robert Calder, cruising off Finisterre, had come 
in sight of Villeneuve, and made the signal for action, 
which, though checked by the weather, had resulted in 
the capture of two Spanish line-of- battle ships, and the 
retreat of Villeneuve into Ferrol. 

The news was received with truly national feeling, if 
noise might be taken as an index of patriotism. ' Rule 
Britannia ' was called for and sung by the whole house. 
But the importance of the event was far from being 
recognized at this time; and Bob Loveday, as he sat 
there and heard it, had very little conception how it 
would bear upon his destiny. 

This parenthetic excitement diverted for a few minutes 
the eyes of Bob and Anne from the trumpet-major ; and 
when the play proceeded, and they looked back to his 
corner, he was gone. 

' He's just slipped round to talk to her behind the 
scenes,' said Bob knowingly. ' Shall we go too, and 
tease him for a sly dog ? ' 

' No, I would rather not,' 

{ Shall we go home, then ? ' 

' Not unless her presence is too much for you ? ' 

' O not at all. We'll stay here. Ah, there she is 



They sat on, and listened to Matilda's speeches, 
which she delivered with such delightful coolness that 
they soon began to considerably interest one of the party. 

' Well, what a nerve the young woman has ! ' he said 
at last in tones of admiration, and gazing at Miss 
Johnson with all his might. ' After all, Jack's taste is 
not so bad. She's really deuced clever.' 

' Bob, I'll go home if you wish to,' said Anne quickly. 

1 no let us see how she fleets herself off that bit 
of a scrape she's playing at now. Well, what a hand 
she is at it, to be sure ! ' 

Anne said no more, but waited on, supremely uncom- 
fortable, and almost tearful. She began to feel that she 
did not like life particularly well ; it was too complicated : 
she saw nothing of the scene, and only longed to get 
away, and to get Bob away with her. At last the curtain 
fell on the final act, and then began the farce of ' No 
Song no Supper.' Matilda did not appear in this piece, 
and Anne again inquired if they should go home. This 
time Bob agreed, and taking her under his care with 
redoubled affection, to make up for the species of coma 
which had seized upon his heart for a time, he quietly 
accompanied her out of the house. 

When they emerged upon the esplanade, the August 
moon was shining across the sea from the direction of 
St. Aldhelm's Head. Bob unconsciously loitered, and 
turned towards the pier. Reaching the end of the pro- 
menade they surveyed the quivering waters in silence for 
some time, until a long dark line shot from behind the 
promontory of the Nothe, and swept forward into the 

' What boat is that ? ' said Anne. 

' It seems to be some frigate lying in the Roads,' 
said Bob carelessly, as he brought Anne round with a 
gentle pressure of his arm and bent his steps towards 
the homeward end of the town. 

Meanwhile, Miss Johnson, having finished her duties 


for that evening, rapidly changed her dress, and went 
out likewise. The prominent position which Anne and 
Captain Bob had occupied side by side in the theatre, 
left her no alternative but to suppose that the situation 
was arranged by Bob as a species of defiance to herself; 
and her heart, such as it was, became proportionately 
embittered against him. In spite of the rise in her 
fortunes, Miss Johnson still remembered and always 
would remember her humiliating departure from Over- 
combe ; and it had been to her even a more grievous 
thing that Bob had acquiesced in his brother's ruling 
than that John had determined it. At the time of setting 
out she was sustained by a firm faith that Bob would 
follow her, and nullify his brother's scheme ; but though 
she waited Bob never came. 

She passed along by the houses facing the sea, and 
scanned the shore, the footway, and the open road close 
to her, which, illuminated by the slanting moon to a 
great brightness, sparkled with minute facets of crystal- 
lized salts from the water sprinkled there during the 
day. The promenaders at the further edge appeared 
in dark profiles ; and beyond them was the grey sea, 
parted into two masses by the tapering braid of moon- 
light across the waves. 

Two forms crossed this line at a startling nearness 
to her ; she marked them at once as Anne and Bob 
Loveday. They were walking slowly, and in the earnest- 
ness of their discourse were oblivious of the presence 
of any human beings save themselves. Matilda stood 
motionless till they had passed. 

' How I love them ! ' she said, treading the initial 
step of her walk onwards with a vehemence that walking 
did not demand. 

c So do I especially one,' said a voice at her elbow ; 
and a man wheeled round her, and looked in her face, 
which had been fully exposed to the moon. 

' You who are you ? ' she asked. 


' Don't you remember, ma'am ? We walked some 
way together towards Overcombe earlier in the summer.' 
Matilda looked more closely, and perceived that the 
speaker was Derriman, in plain clothes. He continued, 
' You are one of the ladies of the theatre, I know. May 
I ask why you said in such a queer way that you loved 
that couple ? ' 

' In a queer way ? ' 

' Well, as if you hated them.' 

' I don't mind your knowing that I have good reason 
to hate them. You do too, it seems ? ' 

' That man,' said Festus savagely, ' came to me one 
night about that very woman; insulted me before I 
could put myself on my guard, and ran away before I 
could come up with him and avenge myself. The 
woman tricks me at every turn ! I want to part 'em.' 

' Then why don't you ? There's a splendid oppor- 
tunity. Do you see that soldier walking along ? He's 
a marine ; he looks into the gallery of the theatre every 
night : and he's in connexion with the press-gang that 
came ashore just now from the frigate lying in Portland 
Roads. They are often here for men.' 

' Yes. Our boatmen dread 'em.' 

' Well, we have only to tell him that Loveday is a 
seaman to be clear of him this very night.' 

' Done ! ' said Festus. ' Take my arm and come 
this way.' They walked across to the footway. ' Fine 
night, sergeant.' 

' It is, sir.' 

' Looking for hands, I suppose ? ' 

' It is not to be known, sir. We don't begin till 
half-past ten.' 

' It is a pity you don't begin now. I could show 'ee 
excellent game.' 

< What, that little nest of fellows at the " Old Rooms " 
in Cove Row ? I have just heard of 'em.' 

' No come here.' Festus, with Miss Johnson on 


his arm, led the sergeant quickly along the parade, and 
by the time they reached the Narrows the lovers, who 
walked but slowly, were visible in front of them. 
'There's your man,' he said. 

' That buck in pantaloons and half-boots a looking 
like a squire ? ' 

' Twelve months ago he was mate of the brig Pewit ; 
but his father has made money, and keeps him at 

' Faith, now you tell of it, there's a hint of sea legs 
about him. What's the young beau's name ? ' 

' Don't tell ! ' whispered Matilda, impulsively clutch- 
ing Festus's arm. 

But Festus had already said, ' Robert Loveday, son 
of the miller at Overcombe. You may find several likely 
fellows in that neighbourhood.' 

The marine said that he would bear it in mind, and 
they left him. 

' I wish you had not told,' said Matilda tearfully. 
' She's the worst ! ' 

' Dash my eyes now ; listen to that ! Why, you 
chicken-hearted old stager, you was as well agreed as I. 
Come now ; hasn't he used you badly ? ' 

Matilda's acrimony returned. ' I was down on my 
luck, or he wouldn't have had the chance ! ' she said. 

' Well, then, let things be.' 




MlSS GARLAND and Loveday walked leisurely to 
the inn and called for horse -and -gig. While the 
hostler was bringing it round, the landlord, who knew 
Bob and his family well, spoke to him quietly in the 

' Is this then because you want to throw dust in the 
eyes of the Black Diamond chaps ? ' (with an admiring 
glance at Bob's costume). 

' The Black Diamond ? ' said Bob ; and Anne turned 

' She hove in sight just after dark, and at nine o'clock 
a boat having more than a dozen marines on board, 
with cloaks on, rowed into harbour.' 

Bob reflected. ' Then there'll be a press to-night ; 
depend upon it,' he said. 

' They won't know you, will they, Bob ? ' said Anne 

' They certainly won't know him for a seaman now,' 
remarked the landlord, laughing, and again surveying 
Bob up and down. ' But if I was you two, I should 
drive home-along straight and quiet ; and be very busy 
in the mill all to-morrow, Mr. Loveday.' 


They drove away ; and when they had got onward 
out of the town, Anne strained her eyes wistfully towards 
Portland. Its dark contour, lying like a whale on the 
sea, was just perceptible in the gloom as the background 
to half-a-dozen ships' lights nearer at hand. 

' They can't make you go, now you are a gentleman 
tradesman, can they ? ' she asked. 

' If they want me they can have me, dearest. I have 
often said I ought to volunteer.' 

' And not care about me at all ? ' 

c It is just that that keeps me at home. I won't 
leave you if I can help it.' 

' It cannot make such a vast difference to the country 
whether one man goes or stays ! But if you want to go 
you had better, and not mind us at all ! ' 

Bob put a period to her speech by a mark of affection 
to which history affords many parallels in every age. 
She said no more about the Black Diamond; but when- 
ever they ascended a hill she turned her head to look at 
the lights in Portland Roads, and the grey expanse of 
intervening sea. 

Though Captain Bob had stated that he did not wish 
to volunteer, and would not leave her if he could help it, 
the remark required some qualification. That Anne 
was charming and loving enough to chain him anywhere 
was true ; but he had begun to find the mill-work terribly 
irksome at times. Often during the last month, when 
standing among the rumbling cogs in his new miller's 
suit, which ill became him, he had yawned, thought wist- 
fully of the old pea-jacket, and the waters of the deep 
blue sea. His dread of displeasing his father by show- 
ing anything of this change of sentiment was great ; yet 
he might have braved it but for knowing that his 
marriage with Anne, which he hoped might take place 
the next year, was dependent entirely upon his adherence 
to the mill business. Even were his father indifferent, 
Mrs. Loveday would never intrust her only daughter to 


the hands of a husband who would be away from home 
five-sixths of his time. 

But though, apart from Anne, he was not averse 
to seafaring in itself, to be smuggled thither by the 
machinery of a press-gang was intolerable; and the 
process of seizing, stunning, pinioning, and carrying off 
unwilling hands was one which Bob as a man had 
always determined to hold out against to the utmost of 
his power. Hence, as they went towards home, he 
frequently listened for sounds behind him, but hearing 
none he assured his sweetheart that they were safe for 
that night at least. The mill was still going when they 
arrived, though old Mr. Loveday was not to be seen ; 
he had retired as soon as he heard the horse's hoofs in 
the lane, leaving Bob to watch the grinding till three 
o'clock ; when the elder would rise, and Bob withdraw 
to bed a frequent arrangement between them since Bob 
had taken the place of grinder. 

Having reached the privacy of her own room, Anne 
threw open the window, for she had not the slightest 
intention of going to bed just yet. The tale of the 
Black Diamond had disturbed her by a slow, insidi- 
ous process that was worse than sudden fright. Her 
window looked into the court before the house, now 
wrapped in the shadow of the trees and the hill ; and 
she leaned upon its sill listening intently. She could 
have heard any strange sound distinctly enough in one 
direction ; but in the other all low noises were absorbed 
in the patter of the mill, and the rush of water down 
the race. 

However, what she heard came from the hitherto 
silent side, and was intelligible in a moment as being 
the footsteps of men. She tried to think they were 
some late stragglers from Budmouth. Alas ! no ; the 
tramp was too regular for that of villagers. She hastily 
turned, extinguished the candle, and listened again. As 
they were on the main road there was, after all, every 


probability that the party would pass the bridge which 
gave access to the mill court without turning in upon it, 
or even noticing that such an entrance existed. In this 
again she was disappointed : they crossed into the front 
without a pause. The pulsations of her heart became a 
turmoil now, for why should these men, if they were the 
press-gang, and strangers to the locality, have supposed 
that a sailor was to be found here, the younger of the 
two millers Loveday being never seen now in any garb 
which could suggest that he was other than a miller 
pure, like his father ? One of the men spoke. 

' I am not sure that we are in the right place,' he 

' This is a mill, anyhow,' said another. 

' There's lots about here.' 

' Then come this way a moment with your light.' 

Two of the group went towards the cart-house on the 
opposite side of the yard, and when they reached it a 
dark lantern was opened, the rays being directed upon 
the front of the miller's waggon. 

' " Loveday and Son, Overcombe Mill," ' continued 
the man, reading from the waggon. ' " Son," you see, 
is lately painted in. That's our man.' 

He moved to turn off the light, but before he had 
done so it flashed over the forms of the speakers, and 
revealed a sergeant, a naval officer, and a file of marines. 

Anne waited to see no more. When Bob stayed up 
to grind, as he was doing to-night, he often sat in his 
room instead of remaining all the time in the mill ; and 
this room was an isolated chamber over the bakehouse, 
which could not be reached without going downstairs 
and ascending the step-ladder that served for his stair- 
case. Anne descended in the dark, clambered up the 
ladder, and saw that light strayed through the chink 
below the door. His window faced towards the garden, 
and hence the light could not as yet have been seen by 
the press-gang. 



' Bob, dear Bob ! ' she said, through the keyhole. 
' Put out your light, and run out of the back-door ! ' 

' Why ? ' said Bob, leisurely knocking the ashes from 
the pipe he had been smoking. 

' The press-gang ! ' 

1 They have come ? By God ! who can have blown 
upon me? All right, dearest. I'm game.' 

Anne, scarcely knowing what she did, descended the 
ladder and ran to the back-door, hastily unbolting it to 
save Bob's time, and gently opening it in readiness for 
him. She had no sooner done this than she felt hands 
laid upon her shoulder from without, and a voice ex- 
claiming, ' That's how we doos it quite an obleeging 
young man ! ' 

Though the hands held her rather roughly, Anne did 
not mind for herself, and turning she cried desperately, 
in tones intended to reach Bob's ears : ' They are at the 
back-door ; try the front ! ' 

But inexperienced Miss Garland little knew the 
shrewd habits of the gentlemen she had to deal with, 
who, well used to this sort of pastime, had already posted 
themselves at every outlet from the premises. 

' Bring the lantern,' shouted the fellow who held her. 
' Why 'tis a girl ! I half thought so. Here is a way 
in,' he continued to his comrades, hastening to the foot 
of the ladder which led to Bob's room. 

'What d'ye want?' said Bob, quietly opening the 
door, and showing himself still radiant in the full dress 
that he had worn with such effect at the Theatre Royal, 
which he had been about to change for his mill suit 
when Anne gave the alarm. 

' This gentleman can't be the right one,' observed a 
marine, rather impressed by Bob's appearance. 

' Yes, yes ; that's the man,' said the sergeant. ' Now 
take it quietly, my young cock-o'-wax. You look as if 
you meant to, and 'tis wise of ye.' 

' Where are you going to take me ? ' said Bob. 


' Only aboard the Black Diamond. If you choose to 
take the bounty and come voluntarily, you'll be allowed 
to go ashore whenever your ship's in port. If you don't, 
and we've got to pinion ye, you will not have your 
liberty at all. As you must come, willy-nilly, you'll do 
the first if you've any brains whatever.' 

Bob's temper began to rise. ' Don't you talk so 
large, about your pinioning, my man. When I've 
settled ' 

' Now or never, young blow-hard,' interrupted his 

' Come, what jabber is this going on ? ' said the lieu- 
tenant, stepping forward. ' Bring your man.' 

One of the marines set foot on the ladder, but at the 
same moment a shoe from Bob's hand hit the lantern 
with well-aimed directness, knocking it clean out of the 
grasp of the man who held it. In spite of the darkness 
they began to scramble up the ladder. Bob thereupon 
shut the door, which being but of slight construction, 
was as he knew only a momentary defence. But it 
gained him time enough to open the window, gather up 
his legs upon the sill, and spring across into the apple- 
tree growing without. He alighted without much hurt 
beyond a few scratches from the boughs, a shower of 
falling apples testifying to the force of his leap. 

' Here he is ! ' shouted several below who had seen 
Bob's figure flying like a raven's across the sky. 

There was stillness for a moment in the tree. Then 
the fugitive made haste to climb out upon a low- 
hanging branch towards the garden, at which the men 
beneath all rushed in that direction to catch him as he 
dropped, saying, ' You may as well come down, old boy. 
'Twas a spry jump, and we give ye credit for 't.' 

The latter movement of Loveday had been a mere 

feint. Partly hidden by the leaves he glided back to the 

other part of the tree, from whence it was easy to jump 

upon a thatch-covered out-house. This intention they 



did not appear to suspect, which gave him the oppor- 
tunity of sliding down the slope and entering the back- 
door of the mill. 

' He's here, he's here ! ' the men exclaimed, running 
back from the tree. 

By this time they had obtained another light, and 
pursued him closely along the back quarters of the mill. 
Bob had entered the lower room, seized hold of the 
chain by which the flour-sacks were hoisted from story 
to story by connexion with the mill-wheel, and pulled 
the rope that hung alongside for the purpose of throwing 
it into gear. The foremost pursuers arrived just in 
time to see Captain Bob's legs and shoe-buckles vanishing 
through the trap-door in the joists overhead, his person 
having been whirled up by the machinery like any bag 
of flour, and the trap falling to behind him. 

' He's gone up by the hoist ! ' said the sergeant, run- 
ning up the ladder in the corner to the next floor, and 
elevating the light just in time to see Bob's suspended 
figure ascending in the same way through the same sort 
of trap into the second floor. The second trap also fell 
together behind him, and he was lost to view as before. 

It was more difficult to follow now ; there was only a 
flimsy little ladder, and the man ascended cautiously. 
When they stepped out upon the loft it was empty. 

' He must ha' let go here,' said one of the marines, 
who knew more about mills than the others. ' If he had 
held fast a moment longer, he would have been dashed 
against that beam.' 

They looked up. The hook by which Bob had held 
on had ascended to the roof, and was winding round the 
cylinder. Nothing was visible elsewhere but boarded 
divisions like the stalls of a stable, on each side of the 
stage they stood upon, these compartments being more 
or less heaped up with wheat and barley in the grain. 

{ Perhaps he's buried himself in the corn.' 

The whole crew jumped into the corn-bins, and stirred 


about their yellow contents; but neither arm, leg, nor 
coat-tail was uncovered. They removed sacks, peeped 
among the rafters of the roof, but to no purpose. The 
lieutenant began to fume at the loss of time. 

' What cursed fools to let the man go ! Why, look 
here, what's this ? ' He had opened the door by which 
sacks were taken in from waggons without, and dangling 
from the cat-head projecting above it was the rope used 
in lifting them. ' There's the way he went down,' the 
officer continued. ' The man's gone.' 

Amidst mumblings and curses the gang descended 
the pair of ladders and came into the open air; but 
Captain Bob was nowhere to be seen. When they 
reached the front door of the house the miller was stand- 
ing on the threshold, half dressed. 

' Your son is a clever fellow, miller,' said the lieu- 
tenant ; ' but it would have been much better for him if 
he had come quiet.' 

' That's a matter of opinion,' said Loveday. 

' I have no doubt that he's in the house.' 

' He may be ; and he may not.' 

' Do you know where he is ? ' 

' I do not ; and if I did I shouldn't tell.' 

1 Naturally.' 

' I heard steps beating up the road, sir,' said the 

They turned from the door, and leaving four of the 
marines to keep watch round the house, the remainder 
of the party marched into the lane as far as where the 
other road branched off. While they were pausing to 
decide which course to take, one of the soldiers held 
up the light. A black object was discernible upon the 
ground before them, and they found it to be a hat the 
hat of Bob Loveday. 

'We are on the track,' cried the sergeant, deciding 
for this direction. 

They tore on rapidly, and the footsteps previously 


heard became audible again, increasing in clearness, 
which told that they gained upon the fugitive, who in 
another five minutes stopped and turned. The rays of 
the candle fell upon Anne. 

' What do you want ? ' she said, showing her fright- 
ened face. 

They made no reply, but wheeled round and left 
her. She sank down on the bank to rest, having done 
all she could. It was she who had taken down Bob's 
hat from a nail, and dropped it at the turning with 
the view of misleading them till he should have got 
clear off. 




Anne Garland was too anxious to remain long 
away from the centre of operations. When she got 
back she found that the press-gang were standing in the 
court discussing their next move. 

' Waste no more time here,' the lieutenant said. 
' Two more villages to visit to-night, and the nearest 
three miles off. There's nobody else in this place, and 
we can't come back again.' 

When they were moving away, one of the private 
marines, who had kept his eye on Anne, and noticed 
her distress, contrived to say in a whisper as he passed 
her, ' We are coming back again as soon as it begins 
to get light ; that's only said to deceive 'ee. Keep your 
young man out of the way.' 

They went as they had come ; and the little house- 
hold then met together, Mrs. Loveday having by this 
time dressed herself and come down. A long and 
anxious discussion followed. 

' Somebody must have told upon the chap,' Loveday 
remarked. ' How should they have found him out else, 
now he's been home from sea this twelvemonth ? ' 

Anne then mentioned what the friendly marine had 
289 T 


told her; and fearing lest Bob was in the house, and 
would be discovered there when daylight came, they 
searched and called for him everywhere. 

' What clothes has he got on ? ' said the miller. 

' His lovely new suit,' said his wife. ' I warrant it is 
quite spoiled ! ' 

' He's got no hat,' said Anne. 

' Well,' said Loveday, ' you two go and lie down now 
and I'll bide up ; and as soon as he comes in, which he'll 
do most likely in the course of the night, I'll let him 
know that they are coming again.' 

Anne and Mrs. Loveday went to their bedrooms, and 
the miller entered the mill as if he were simply staying 
up to grind. But he continually left the flour-shoot to 
go outside and walk round ; each time he could see no 
living being near the spot. Anne meanwhile had lain 
down dressed upon her bed, the window still open, her 
ears intent upon the sound of footsteps, and dreading the 
reappearance of daylight and the gang's return. Three 
or four times during the night she descended to the mill 
to inquire of her stepfather if Bob had shown himself; 
but the answer was always in the negative. 

At length the curtains of her bed began to reveal their 
pattern, the brass handles of the drawers gleamed forth, 
and day dawned. While the light was yet no more than 
a suffusion of pallor, she arose, put on her hat, and deter- 
mined to explore the surrounding premises before the 
men arrived. Emerging into the raw loneliness of the 
daybreak, she went upon the bridge and looked up and 
down the road. It was as she had left it, empty, and 
the solitude was rendered yet more insistent by the 
silence of the mill-wheel, which was now stopped, the 
miller having given up expecting Bob and retired to bed 
about three o'clock. The footprints of the marines still 
remained in the dust on the bridge, all the heel-marks 
towards the house, showing that the party had not as yet 



While she lingered she heard a slight noise in the 
other direction, and, turning, saw a woman approaching. 
The woman came up quickly, and, to her amazement, 
Anne recognized Matilda. Her walk was convulsive, 
face pale, almost haggard, and the cold light of the 
morning invested it with all the ghostliness of death. 
She had plainly walked all the way from Budmouth, for 
her shoes were covered with dust. 

' Has the press-gang been here ? ' she gasped. ' If 
not they are coming ! ' 

' They have been.' 

' And got him I am too late ! ' 

' No ; they are coming back again. Why did you ' 

' I came to try to save him. Can we save him ? 
Where is he ? ' 

Anne looked the woman in the face, and it was im- 
possible to doubt that she was in earnest. 

' I don't know,' she answered. ' I am trying to find 
him before they come.' 

1 Will you not let me help you ? ' cried the repentant 

Without either objecting or assenting Anne turned 
and led the way to the back part of the homestead. 

Matilda, too, had suffered that night. From the 
moment of parting with Festus Derriman a sentiment of 
revulsion from the act to which she had been a party set 
in and increased, till at length it reached an intensity of 
remorse which she could not passively bear. She had 
risen before day and hastened thitherward to know the 
worst, and if possible hinder consequences that she had 
been the first to set in train. 

After going hither and thither in the adjoining field, 
Anne entered the garden. The walks were bathed in 
grey dew, and as she passed observantly along them it 
appeared as if they had been brushed by some foot at a 
much earlier hour. At the end of the garden, bushes 
of broom, laurel, and yew formed a constantly encroach- 


ing shrubbery, that had come there almost by chance, 
and was never trimmed. Behind these bushes was a 
garden-seat, and upon it lay Bob sound asleep. 

The ends of his hair were clotted with damp, and 
there was a foggy film upon the mirror-like buttons of 
his coat, and upon the buckles of his shoes. His bunch 
of new gold seals was dimmed by the same insidious 
dampness; his shirt-frill and muslin neckcloth were 
limp as seaweed. It was plain that he had been there 
a long time. Anne shook him, but he did not awake, 
his breathing being slow and stertorous. 

' Bob, wake ; 'tis your own Anne ! ' she said, with 
innocent earnestness; and then, fearfully turning her 
head, she saw that Matilda was close behind her. 

' You needn't mind me,' said Matilda bitterly. ' I 
am on your side now. Shake him again.' 

Anne shook him again, but he slept on. Then she 
noticed that his forehead bore the mark of a heavy 

' I fancy I hear something ! ' said her companion, 
starting forward and endeavouring to wake Bob herself. 
' He is stunned, or drugged ! ' she said ; ' there is no 
rousing him.' 

Anne raised her head and listened. From the 
direction of the eastern road came the sound of a 
steady tramp. ' They are coming back ! ' she said, 
clasping her hands. ' They will take him, ill as he is ! 
He won't open his eyes no, it is no use ! O, what 
shall we do ? ' 

Matilda did not reply, but running to the end of 
the seat on which Bob lay, tried its weight in her arms. 

' It is not too heavy,' she said. ' You take that end, 
and I'll take this. We'll carry him away to some place 
of hiding.' 

Anne instantly seized the other end, and they pro- 
ceeded with their burden at a slow pace to the lower 
garden-gate, which they reached as the tread of the 


press-gang resounded over the bridge that gave access 
to the mill court, now hidden from view by the hedge 
and the trees of the garden. 

'We will go down inside this field,' said Anne 

' No ! ' said the other ; { they will see our foot-tracks 
in the dew. We must go into the road.' 

' It is the very road they will come down when they 
leave the mill.' 

' It cannot be helped ; it is neck or nothing with us 

So they emerged upon the road, and staggered along 
without speaking, occasionally resting for a moment to 
ease their arms ; then shaking him to arouse him, and 
finding it useless, seizing the seat again. When they 
had gone about two hundred yards Matilda betrayed 
signs of exhaustion, and she asked, ' Is there no shelter 
near ? ' 

' When we get to that little field of corn,' said Anne. 

' It is so very far. Surely there is some place near ? ' 

She pointed to a few scrubby bushes overhanging a 
little stream, which passed under the road near this point. 

' They are not thick enough,' said Anne. 

' Let us take him under the bridge,' said Matilda. 
' I can go no further.' 

Entering the opening by which cattle descended to 
drink, they waded into the weedy water, which here rose 
a few inches above their ankles. To ascend the stream, 
stoop under the arch, and reach the centre of the road- 
way, was the work of a few minutes. 

' If they look under the arch we are lost,' murmured 

' There is no parapet to the bridge, and they may 
pass over without heeding.' 

They waited, their heads almost in contact with the 
reeking arch, and their feet encircled by the stream, 
which was at its summer lowness now. For some 


minutes they could hear nothing but the babble of the 
water over their ankles, and round the legs of the seat 
on which Bob slumbered, the sounds being reflected in 
a musical tinkle from the hollow sides of the arch. 
Anne's anxiety now was lest he should not continue 
sleeping till the search was over, but start up with his 
habitual imprudence, and scorning such means of safety, 
rush out into their arms. 

A quarter of an hour dragged by, and then indications 
reached their ears that the re-examination of the mill 
had begun and ended. The well-known tramp drew 
nearer, and reverberated through the ground over their 
heads, where its volume signified to the listeners that 
the party had been largely augmented by pressed men 
since the night preceding. The gang passed the arch, 
and the noise regularly diminished, as if no man among 
them had thought of looking aside for a moment. 

Matilda broke the silence. ' I wonder if they have 
left a watch behind ? ' she said doubtfully. 

' I will go and see,' said Anne. ' Wait till I return.' 

' No ; I can do no more. When you come back I 
shall be gone. I ask one thing of you. If all goes well 
with you and him, and he marries you don't be alarmed ; 
my plans lie elsewhere when you are his wife tell him 
who helped to carry him away. But don't mention my 
name to the rest of your family, either now or at any 

Anne regarded the speaker for a moment, and pro- 
mised ; after which she waded out from the archway. 

Matilda stood looking at Bob for a moment, as if 
preparing to go, till moved by some impulse she bent 
and lightly kissed him once. 

' How can you ! ' cried Anne reproachfully. When 
leaving the mouth of the arch she had bent back and 
seen the act. 

Matilda flushed. ' You jealous baby ! ' she said 



Anne hesitated for a moment, then went out from 
the water, and hastened towards the mill. 

She entered by the garden, and, seeing no one, 
advanced and peeped in at the window. Her mother 
and Mr. Loveday were sitting within as usual. 

' Are they all gone ? ' said Anne softly. 

' Yes. They did not trouble us much, beyond going 
into every room, and searching about the garden, where 
they saw steps. They have been lucky to-night; they 
have caught fifteen or twenty men at places further on ; 
so the loss of Bob was no hurt to their feelings. I 
wonder where in the world the poor fellow is ! ' 

' I will show you,' said Anne. And explaining in a 
few words what had happened, she was promptly followed 
by David and Loveday along the road. She lifted her 
dress and entered the arch with some anxiety on account 
of Matilda ; but the actress was gone, and Bob lay on 
the seat as she had left him. 

Bob was brought out, and water thrown upon his 
face ; but though he moved he did not rouse himself 
until some time after he had been borne into the house. 
Here he opened his eyes, and saw them standing round, 
and gathered a little consciousness. 

' You are all right, my boy ! ' said his father. ' What 
hev happened to ye ? Where did ye get that terrible 
blow ? ' 

' Ah I can mind now,' murmured Bob, with a 
stupefied gaze around. ' I fell in slipping down the 
topsail halyard the rope, that is, was too short and 
I fell upon my head. And then I went away. When 
I came back I thought I wouldn't disturb ye : so I lay 
down out there, to sleep out the watch ; but the pain 
in my head was so great that I couldn't get to sleep ; 
so I picked some of the poppy-heads in the border, 
which I once heard was a good thing for sending folks 
to sleep when they are in pain. So I munched up all 
I could find, and dropped off quite nicely.' 
2 95 


' I wondered who had picked 'em ! ' said Molly. ' I 
noticed they were gone.' 

' Why, you might never have woke again ! ' said 
Mrs. Loveday, holding up her hands. ' How is your 
head now ? ' 

' I hardly know,' replied the young man, putting his 
hand to his forehead and beginning to doze again. 
' Where be those fellows that boarded us ? With this 
smooth water and fine breeze we ought to get away 
from 'em. Haul in the larboard braces, and bring 
her to the wind.' 

' You are at home, dear Bob,' said Anne, bending 
over him, ' and the men are gone.' 

' Come along upstairs : th' beest hardly awake now,' 
said his father ; and Bob was assisted to bed. 





IN four-and-twenty hours Bob had recovered. But 
though physically himself again, he was not at all sure 
of his position as a patriot. He had that practical 
knowledge of seamanship of which the country stood 
much in need, and it was humiliating to find that 
impressment seemed to be necessary to teach him to 
use it for her advantage. Many neighbouring young 
men, less fortunate than himself, had been pressed 
and taken; and their absence seemed a reproach to 
him. He went away by himself into the mill-roof, 
and, surrounded by the corn-heaps, gave vent to 

' Certainly, I am no man to lie here so long for the 
pleasure of sighting that young girl forty times a day, 
and letting her sight me bless her eyes ! till I must 
needs want a press-gang to teach me what I've forgot. 
And is it then all over with me as a British sailor? 
We'll see.' 

When he was thrown under the influence of Anne's 

eyes again, which were more tantalizingly beautiful than 

ever just now (so it seemed to him), his intention of 

offering his services to the Government would wax 



weaker, and he would put off his final decision till the 
next day. Anne saw these fluctuations of his mind 
between love and patriotism, and being terrified by what 
she had heard of sea-fights, used the utmost art of which 
she was capable to seduce him from his forming 
purpose. She came to him in the mill, wearing the 
very prettiest of her morning jackets the one that only 
just passed the waist, and was laced so tastefully round 
the collar and bosom. Then she would appear in her 
new hat, with a bouquet of primroses on one side ; and 
on the following Sunday she walked before him in 
lemon-coloured boots, so that her feet looked like a pair 
of yellow-hammers flitting under her dress. 

But dress was the least of the means she adopted for 
chaining him down. She talked more tenderly than 
ever; asked him to begin small undertakings in the 
garden on her account ; she sang about the house, that 
the place might seem cheerful when he came in. This 
singing for a purpose required great effort on her part, 
leaving her afterwards very sad. When Bob asked her 
what was the matter, she would say, ' Nothing ; only I 
am thinking how you will grieve your father, and cross 
his purposes, if you carry out your unkind notion of 
going to sea, and forsaking your place in the mill.' 

'Yes,' Bob would say uneasily. 'It will trouble 
him, I know.' 

Being also quite aware how it would trouble her, he 
would again postpone, and thus another week passed 

All this time John had not come once to the mill. It 
appeared as if Miss Johnson absorbed all his time and 
thoughts. Bob was often seen chuckling over the cir- 
cumstance. ' A sly rascal ! ' he said. ' Pretending on 
the day she came to be married that she was not good 
enough for me, when it was only that he wanted her for 
himself. How he could have persuaded her to go away 
is beyond me to say ! ' 



Anne could not contest this belief of her lover's, and 
remained silent ; but there had more than once occurred 
to her mind a doubt of its probability. Yet she had 
only abandoned her opinion that John had schemed for 
Matilda, to embrace the opposite error ; that, finding he 
had wronged the young lady, he had pitied and grown to 
love her. 

' And yet Jack, when he was a boy, was the simplest 
fellow alive,' resumed Bob. ' By George, though, I 
should have been hot against him for such a trick, if in 
losing her I hadn't found a better! But she'll never 
come down to him in the world : she has high notions 
now. I am afraid he's doomed to sigh in vain ! ' 

Though Bob regretted this possibility, the feeling was 
not reciprocated by Anne. It was true that she knew 
nothing of Matilda's temporary treachery, and that she 
disbelieved the story of her lack of virtue ; but she did 
not like the woman. ' Perhaps it will not matter if he is 
doomed to sigh in vain/ she said. ' But I owe him no 
ill-will. I have profited by his doings, incomprehensible 
as they are.' And she bent her fair eyes on Bob and 

Bob looked dubious. ' He thinks he has affronted 
me, now I have seen through him, and that I shall be 
against meeting him. But, of course, I am not so touchy. 
I can stand a practical joke, as can any man who has 
been afloat. I'll call and see him, and tell him so.' 

Before he started, Bob bethought him of something 
which would still further prove to the misapprehending 
John that he was entirely forgiven. He went to his 
room, and took from his chest a packet containing a lock 
of Miss Johnson's hair, which she had given him during 
their brief acquaintance, and which till now he had quite 
forgotten. When, at starting, he wished Anne good- 
bye, it was accompanied by such a beaming face, that 
she knew he was full of an idea, and asked what it might 
be that pleased him so. 



' Why, this,' he said, smacking his breast-pocket. ' A 
lock of hair that Matilda gave me.' 

Anne sank back with parted lips. 

' I am going to give it to Jack he'll jump for joy to 
get it ! And it will show him how willing I am to give 
her up to him, fine piece as she is.' 

' Will you see her to-day, Bob ? ' Anne asked with an 
uncertain smile. 

1 O no unless it is by accident.' 

On reaching the outskirts of the town he went straight 
to the barracks, and was lucky enough to find John in 
his room, at the left-hand corner of the quadrangle. 
John was glad to see him ; but to Bob's surprise he 
showed no immediate contrition, and thus afforded no 
room for the brotherly speech of forgiveness which Bob 
had been going to deliver. As the trumpet-major did 
not open the subject, Bob felt it desirable to begin 

' I have brought ye something that you will value, 
Jack,' he said, as they sat at the window, overlooking 
the large square barrack-yard. ' I have got no further 
use for it, and you should have had it before if it had 
entered my head.' 

' Thank you, Bob ; what is it ? ' said John, looking 
absently at an awkward squad of young men who were 
drilling in the enclosure. 

' 'Tis a young woman's lock of hair.' 

' Ah ! ' said John, quite recovering from his abstrac- 
tion, and slightly flushing. Could Bob and Anne have 
quarrelled ? Bob drew the paper from his pocket, and 
opened it. 

' Black ! ' said John. 

' Yes black enough.' 

' Whose ? ' 

' Why, Matilda's.' 

' O, Matilda's ! ' 

1 Whose did you think then ? ' 


Instead of replying, the trumpet-major's face became 
as red as sunset, and he turned to the window to hide 
his confusion. 

Bob was silent, and then he, too, looked into the 
court. At length he arose, walked to his brother, and 
laid his hand upon his shoulder. ' Jack,' he said, in an 
altered voice, ' you are a good fellow. Now I see it all.' 

' O no that's nothing,' said John hastily. 

' You've been pretending that you care for this 
woman that I mightn't blame myself for heaving you 
out from the other which is what I've done without 
knowing it. 3 

' What does it matter ? 

' But it does matter ! I've been making you unhappy 
all these weeks and weeks through my thoughtlessness. 
They seemed to think at home, you know, John, that 
you had grown not to care for her ; or I wouldn't have 
done it for all the world ! ' 

'You stick to her, Bob, and never mind me. She 
belongs to you. She loves you. I have no claim upon 
her, and she thinks nothing about me.' 

' She likes you, John, thoroughly well ; so does 
everybody ; and if I hadn't come home, putting my foot 
in it That coming home of mine has been a regular 
blight upon the family ! I ought never to have stayed. 
The sea is my home, and why couldn't I bide there ? ' 

The trumpet - major drew Bob's discourse off the 
subject as soon as he could, and Bob, after some un- 
considered replies and remarks, seemed willing to avoid 
it for the present. He did not ask John to accompany 
him home, as he had intended ; and on leaving the 
barracks turned southward and entered the town to 
wander about till he could decide what to do. 

It was the 3rd of September, but the King's watering- 
place still retained its summer aspect. The royal 
bathing-machine had been drawn out just as Bob 
reached Gloucester Buildings, and he waited a minute, 


in the lack of other distraction, to look on. Immedi- 
ately that the King's machine had entered the water a 
group of florid men with fiddles, violoncellos, a trom- 
bone, and a drum, came forward, packed themselves 
into another machine that was in waiting, and were 
drawn out into the waves in the King's rear. All that 
was to be heard for a few minutes were the slow pulsa- 
tions of the sea ; and then a deafening noise burst from 
the interior of the second machine with power enough 
to split the boards asunder ; it was the condensed mass 
of musicians inside, striking up the strains of ' God save 
the King,' as his Majesty's head rose from the water. 
Bob took off his hat and waited till the end of the 
performance, which, intended as a pleasant surprise to 
George III. by the loyal burghers, was possibly in the 
watery circumstances tolerated rather than desired by 
that dripping monarch.* 

Loveday then passed on to the harbour, where he 
remained awhile, looking at the busy scene of loading 
and unloading craft and swabbing the decks of yachts ; 
at the boats and barges rubbing against the quay wall, 
and at the houses of the merchants, some ancient 
structures of solid stone, others green-shuttered with 
heavy wooden bow-windows which appeared as if about 
to drop into the harbour by their own weight. All 
these things he gazed upon, 'and thought of one thing 
that he had caused great misery to his brother John. 

The town clock struck, and Bob retraced his steps 
till he again approached the Esplanade and Gloucester 
Lodge, where the morning sun blazed in upon the house 
fronts, and not a spot of shade seemed to be attainable. 
A huzzaing attracted his attention, and he observed that 
a number of people had gathered before the King's resi- 
dence, where a brown curricle had stopped, out of which 
stepped a hale man in the prime of life, wearing a blue 

* Vide Preface. 


uniform, gilt epaulettes, cocked hat, and sword, who 
crossed the pavement and went in. Bob went up and 
joined the group. ' What's going on ? ' he said. 

' Captain Hardy,' replied a bystander. 

' What of him ? ' 

' Just gone in waiting to see the King.' 

' But the captain is in the West Indies ? ' 

' No. The fleet is come home ; they can't find the 
French anywhere.' 

' Will they go and look for them again ? ' asked Bob. 

' O yes. Nelson is determined to find 'em. As 
soon as he's refitted he'll put to sea again. Ah, here's 
the King coming in.' 

Bob was so interested in what he had just heard that 
he scarcely noticed the arrival of the King, and a body 
of attendant gentlemen. He went on thinking of his 
new knowledge; Captain Hardy was come. He was 
doubtless staying with his family at their small manor- 
house at Pos'ham, a few miles from Overcombe, where he 
usually spent the intervals between his different cruises. 

Loveday returned to the mill without further delay ; 
and shortly explaining that John was very well, and 
would come soon, went on to talk of the arrival of 
Nelson's captain. 

'And is he come at last ? ' said the miller, throwing 
his thoughts years backward. ' Well can I mind when 
he first left home to go on board the Helena as 
midshipman ! ' 

' That's not much to remember. I can remember it 
too,' said Mrs. Loveday. 

' 'Tis more than twenty years ago anyhow. And more 
than that, I can mind when he was born ; I was a lad, 
serving my 'prenticeship at the time. He has been in 
this house often and often when 'a was young. When 
he came home after his first voyage he stayed about here 
a long time, and used to look in at the mill whenever 
he went past. " What will you be next, sir ? " said mother 


to him one day as he stood with his back to the door- 
post. " A lieutenant, Dame Loveday," says he. " And 
what next ?" says she. " A commander." "And next?" 
"Next, post-captain." "And then?" "Then it will 
be almost time to die." I'd warrant that he'd mind it 
to this very day if you were to ask him.' 

Bob heard all this with a manner of preoccupation, 
and soon retired to the mill. Thence he went to his 
room by the back passage, and taking his old seafaring 
garments from a dark closet in the wall conveyed them 
to the loft at the top of the mill, where he occupied the 
remaining spare moments of the day in brushing the 
mildew from their folds, and hanging each article by the 
window to get aired. In the evening he returned to the 
loft, and dressing himself in the old salt suit, went out 
of the house unobserved by anybody, and ascended the 
road towards Captain Hardy's native village and present 
temporary home. 

The shadeless downs were now brown with the 
droughts of the passing summer, and few living things 
met his view, the natural rotundity of the elevation being 
only occasionally disturbed by the presence of a barrow, 
a thorn-bush, or a piece of dry wall which remained from 
some attempted enclosure. By the time that he reached 
the village it was dark, and the larger stars had begun 
to shine when he walked up to the door of the old- 
fashioned house which was the family residence of the 

' Will the captain allow me to wait on him to-night ? ' 
inquired Loveday, explaining who and what he was. 

The servant went away for a few minutes, and then 
told Bob that he might see the captain in the morning. 

' If that's the case, I'll come again,' replied Bob, 
quite cheerful that failure was not absolute. 

He had left the door but a few steps when he was 
called back and asked if he had walked all the way from 
Overcombe Mill on purpose. 


Loveday replied modestly that he had done so. 

' Then will you come in ? ' He followed the speaker 
into a small study or office, and in a minute or two 
Captain Hardy entered. 

The captain at this time was a bachelor of thirty- 
five, rather stout in build, with light eyes, bushy eye- 
brows, a square broad face, plenty of chin, and a mouth 
whose corners played between humour and grimness. 
He surveyed Loveday from top to toe. 

'Robert Loveday, sir, son of the miller at Over- 
combe,' said Bob, making a low bow. 

' Ah ! I remember your father, Loveday,' the gallant 
seaman replied. ' Well, what do you want to say to 
me ? ' Seeing that Bob found it rather difficult to 
begin, he leant leisurely against the mantelpiece, and 
went on, ' Is your father well and hearty ? I have not 
seen him for many, many years.' 

' Quite well, thank 'ee.' 

' You used to have a brother in the army, I think ? 
What was his name John ? A very fine fellow, if I 

' Yes, cap'n ; he's there still.' 

' And you are in the merchant-service ? ' 

' Late first mate of the brig Pewt'f.' 

1 How is it you're not on board a man-of-war ? 

' Ay, sir, that's the thing I've come about,' said Bob, 
recovering confidence. ' I should have been, but 'tis 
womankind has hampered me. I've waited and waited 
on at home because of a young woman lady, I might 
have said, for she's sprung from a higher class of society 
than I. Her father was a landscape painter maybe 
you've heard of him, sir ? The name is Garland.' 

' He painted that view of our village here,' said 
Captain Hardy, looking towards a dark little picture in 
the corner of the room. 

Bob looked, and went on, as if to the picture, ' Well, 
sir, I have found that However, the press-gang 
305 ^ 


came a week or two ago, and didn't get hold of me. 
I didn't care to go aboard as a pressed man.' 

'There has been a severe impressment. It is of 
course a disagreeable necessity, but it can't be helped.' 

' Since then, sir, something has Happened that makes 
me wish they had found me, and I have come to-night 
to ask if I could enter on board your ship the Victory.' 

The captain shook his head severely, and presently 
observed : ' I am glad to find that you think of entering 
the service, Loveday ; smart men are badly wanted. But 
it will not be in your power to choose your ship.' 

'Well, well, sir; then I must take my chance else- 
where,' said Bob, his face indicating the disappointment 
he would not fully express. ' 'Twas only that I felt I 
would much rather serve under you than anybody else, 
my father and all of us being known to ye, Captain 
Hardy, and our families belonging to the same parts.' 

Captain Hardy took Bob's altitude more carefully. 
' Are you a good practical seaman ? ' he asked musingly. 

' Ay, sir ; I believe I am.' 

' Active ? Fond of skylarking ? ' 

'Well, I don't know about the last. I think I can 
say I am active enough. I could walk the yard-arm, if 
required, cross from mast to mast by the stays, and do 
what most fellows do who call themselves spry.' 

The captain then put some questions about the 
details of navigation, which Loveday, having luckily 
been used to square rigs, answered satisfactorily. ' As 
to reefing topsails,' he added, 'if I don't do it like a 
flash of lightning, I can do it so that they will stand 
blowing weather. The Pewifwas not a dull vessel, and 
when we were convoyed home from Lisbon, she could 
keep well in sight of the frigate scudding at a distance, 
by putting on full sail. We had enough hands aboard 
to reef topsails man-o'-war fashion, which is a rare thing 
in these days, sir, now that able seamen are so scarce 
on trading craft. And I hear that men from square- 


rigged vessels are liked much the best in the navy, as 
being more ready for use? So that I shouldn't be 
altogether so raw,' said Bob earnestly, ' if I could enter 
on your ship, sir. Still, if I can't, I can't.' 

'I might ask for you, Loveday,' said the captain 
thoughtfully, ' and so get you there that way. In short, 
I think I may say I will ask for you. So consider it 

' My thanks to you, sir,' said Loveday. 

' You are aware that the Victory is a smart ship, and 
that cleanliness and order are, of necessity, more strictly 
insisted upon there than in some others ? ' 

' Sir, I quite see it.' 

'Well, I hope you will do your duty as well on a 
line-of-battle ship as you did when mate of the brig, for 
it is a duty that may be serious.' 

Bob replied that it should be his one endeavour ; and 
receiving a few instructions for getting on board the 
guard-ship, and being conveyed to Portsmouth, he 
turned to go away. 

' You'll have a stiff walk before you fetch Overcombe 
Mill this dark night, Loveday,' concluded the captain, 
peering out of the window. * I'll send you in a glass of 
grog to help 'ee on your way.' 

The captain then left Bob to himself, and when he 
had drunk the grog that was brought in he started 
homeward, with a heart not exactly light, but large with 
a patriotic cheerfulness, which had not diminished when, 
after walking so fast in his excitement as to be beaded 
with perspiration, he entered his father's door. 

They were all sitting up for him, and at his approach 
anxiously raised their sleepy eyes, for it was nearly eleven 

' There ; I knew he'd not be much longer ! ' cried 
Anne, jumping up and laughing, in her relief. ' They 
have been thinking you were very strange and silent to- 
day, Bob ; you were not, were you ? ' 


' What's the matter, Bob ? ' said the miller ; for Bob's 
countenance was sublimed by his recent interview, like 
that of a priest just come from the penetralia of the 

' He's in his mate's clothes, just as when he came 
home ! ' observed Mrs. Loveday. 

They all saw now that he had something to tell. ' I 
am going away,' he said when he had sat down. ' I am 
going to enter on board a man-of-war, and perhaps it 
will be the Victory? 

1 Going ? ' said Anne faintly. 

' Now, don't you mind it, there's a dear,' he went on 
solemnly, taking her hand in his own. ' And you, father, 
don't you begin to take it to heart' (the miller was 
looking grave). 'The press-gang has been here, and 
though I showed them that I was a free man, I am 
going to show everybody that I can do my duty.' 

Neither of the other three answered, Anne and the 
miller having their eyes bent upon the ground, and the 
former trying to repress her tears. 

' Now don't you grieve, either of you,' he continued ; 
' nor vex yourselves that this has happened. Please not 
to be angry with me, father, for deserting you and the 
mill, where you want me, for I must go. For these 
three years we and the rest of the country have been in 
fear of the enemy ; trade has been hindered ; poor folk 
made hungry ; and many rich folk made poor. There 
must be a deliverance, and it must be done by sea. I 
have seen Captain Hardy, and I shall serve under him 
if so be I can.' 

' Captain Hardy ? ' 

' Yes. I have been to his house at Pos'ham, where 
he's staying with his sisters ; walked there and back, and 
I wouldn't have missed it for fifty guineas. I hardly 
thought he would see me ; but he did see me. And 
he hasn't forgot you.' 

Bob then opened his tale in order, relating graphic- 


ally the conversation to which he had been a party, and 
they listened with breathless attention. 

'Well, if you must go, you must,' said the miller with 
emotion ; ' but I think it somewhat hard that, of my two 
sons, neither one of 'em can be got to stay and help me 
in my business as I get old.' 

' Don't trouble and vex about it,' said Mrs. Loveday 
soothingly. ' They are both instruments in the hands 
of Providence, chosen to chastise that Corsican ogre, and 
do what they can for the country in these trying years.' 

' That's just the shape of it, Mrs. Loveday,' said 

' And he'll come back soon,' she continued, turning 
to Anne. ' And then he'll tell us all he has seen, and 
the glory that he's won, and how he has helped to sweep 
that scourge Buonaparty off the earth.' 

' When be you going, Bob ? ' his father inquired. 

' To-morrow, if I can. I shall call at the barracks 
and tell John as I go by. When I get to Portsmouth ' 

A burst of sobs in quick succession interrupted his 
words ; they came from Anne, who till that moment had 
been sitting as before with her hand in that of Bob, and 
apparently quite calm. Mrs. Loveday jumped up, but 
before she could say anything to soothe the agitated 
girl she had calmed herself with the same singular 
suddenness that had marked her giving way. ' I don't 
mind Bob's going,' she said. ' I think he ought to go. 
Don't suppose, Bob, that I want you to stay ! ' 

After this she left the apartment, and went into the 
little side room where she and her mother usually 
worked. In a few moments Bob followed her. When 
he came back he was in a very sad and emotional mood. 
Anybody could see that there had been a parting of 
profound anguish to both. 

' She is not coming back to-night,' he said. 

' You will see her to-morrow before you go ? ' said 
her mother. 



' I may or I may not,' he replied. ' Father and Mrs. 
Loveday, do you go to bed now. I have got to look 
over my things and get ready ; and it will take me some 
little time. If you should hear noises you will know it 
is only myself moving about.' 

When Bob was left alone he suddenly became brisk, 
and set himself to overhaul his clothes and other posses- 
sions in a business-like manner. By the time that his 
chest was packed, such things as he meant to leave at 
home folded into cupboards, and what was useless de- 
stroyed, it was past two o'clock. Then he went to bed, 
so softly that only the creak of one weak stair revealed 
his passage upward. At the moment that he passed 
Anne's chamber-door her mother was bending over her 
as she lay in bed, and saying to her, ' Won't you see 
him in the morning ? ' 

' No, no,' said Anne. ' I would rather not see him ! 
I have said that I may. But I shall not. I cannot see 
him again ! ' 

When the family got up next day Bob had vanished. 
It was his way to disappear like this, to avoid affecting 
scenes at parting. By the time that they had sat down 
to a gloomy breakfast, Bob was in the boat of a Bud- 
mouth waterman, who pulled him alongside the guard- 
ship in the roads, where he laid hold of the man-rope, 
mounted, and disappeared from external view. In the 
course of the day the ship moved off, set her royals, and 
made sail for Portsmouth, with five hundred new hands 
for the service on board, consisting partly of pressed 
men and partly of volunteers, among the latter being 
Robert Loveday. 





IN parting from John, who accompanied him tc the 
quay, Bob had said : ' Now, Jack, these be my last 
words to you : I give her up. I go away on purpose, 
and I shall be away a long time. If in that time she 
should list over towards ye ever so little, mind you take 
her. You have more right to her than I. You chose 
her when my mind was elsewhere, and you best deserve 
her; for I have never known you forget one woman, 
while I've forgot a dozen. Take her then, if she will 
come, and God bless both of ye.' 

Another person besides John saw Bob go. That was 
Derriman, who was standing by a bollard a little further 
up the quay. He did not repress his satisfaction at the 
sight. John looked towards him with an open gaze of 
contempt ; for the cuffs administered to the yeoman at 
the inn had not, so far as the trumpet-major was aware, 
produced any desire to avenge that insult, John being, of 
course, quite ignorant that Festus had erroneously retali- 
ated upon Bob, in his peculiar though scarcely soldierly 
way. Finding that he did not even now approach him, 
John went on his way, and thought over his intention of 
preserving intact the love between Anne and his brother. 


He was surprised when he next went to the mill to 
find how glad they all were to see him. From the 
moment of Bob's return to the bosom of the deep Anne 
had had no existence on land ; people might have looked 
at her human body and said she had flitted thence. The 
sea and all that belonged to the sea was her daily thought 
and her nightly dream. She had the whole two-and- 
thirty winds under her eye, each passing gale that 
ushered in returning autumn being mentally registered ; 
and she acquired a precise knowledge of the direction 
in which Portsmouth, Brest, Ferrol, Cadiz, and other 
such likely places lay. Instead of saying her own 
familiar prayers at night she substituted, with some con- 
fusion of thought, the Forms of Prayer to be used at 
sea. John at once noticed her lorn, abstracted looks, 
pitied her, how much he pitied her ! and asked when 
they were alone if there was anything he could do. 

' There are two things,' she said, with almost childish 
eagerness in her tired eyes. 

' They shall be done.' 

' The first is to find out if Captain Hardy has gone 
back to his ship ; and the other is O if you will do it, 
John ! to get me newspapers whenever possible.' 

After this duologue John was absent for a space of 
three hours, and they thought he had gone back to 
barracks. He entered, however, at the end of that time, 
took off his forage-cap, and wiped his forehead. 
; _ ' You look tired, John,' said his father. 

' O no.' He went through the house till he had 
found Anne Garland. 

' I have only done one of those things,' he said 
to her. 

' What, already ? I didn't hope for or mean 

' Captain Hardy is gone from Pos'ham. He left 
some days ago. We shall soon hear that the fleet has 



' You have been all the way to Pos'ham on purpose ? 
How good of you ! ' 

' Well, I was anxious to know myself when Bob is 
likely to leave. I expect now that we shall soon hear 
from him.' 

Two days later he came again. He brought a 
newspaper, and what was better, a letter for Anne, 
franked by the first lieutenant of the Victory. 

' Then he's aboard her,' said Anne, as she eagerly 
took the letter. 

It was short, but as much as she could expect in the 
circumstances, and informed them that the captain had 
been as good as his word, and had gratified Bob's 
earnest wish to serve under him. The ship, with 
Admiral Lord Nelson on board, and accompanied by 
the frigate Euryalus, was to sail in two days for Ply- 
mouth, where they would be joined by others, and 
thence proceed to the coast of Spain. 

Anne lay awake that night thinking of the Victory, 
and of those who floated in her. To the best of Anne's 
calculation that ship of war would, during the next 
twenty-four hours, pass within a few miles of where she 
herself then lay. Next to seeing Bob, the thing that 
would give her more pleasure than any other in the 
world was to see the vessel that contained him his 
floating city, his sole dependence in battle and storm 
upon whose safety from winds and enemies hung all 
her hope. 

The morrow was market-day at the seaport, and in 
this she saw her opportunity. A carrier went from 
Overcombe at six o'clock thither, and having to do a 
little shopping for herself she gave it as a reason for her 
intended day's absence, and took a place in the van. 
When she reached the town it was still early morning, but 
the borough was already in the zenith of its daily bustle 
and show. The King was always out-of-doors by six 
o'clock, and such cock-crow hours at Gloucester Lodge 


produced an equally forward stir among the population. 
She alighted, and passed down the esplanade, as fully 
thronged by persons of fashion at this time of mist and 
level sunlight as a watering-place in the present day is 
at four in the afternoon. Dashing bucks and beaux in 
cocked hats, black feathers, ruffles, and frills, stared at 
her as she hurried along ; the beach was swarming with 
bathing women, wearing waistbands that bore the 
national refrain, ' God save the King,' in gilt letters ; 
the shops were all open, and Sergeant Stanner, with 
his sword-stuck bank-notes and heroic gaze, was beating 
up at two guineas and a crown, the crown to drink his 
Majesty's health. 

She soon finished her shopping, and then, crossing 
over into the old town, pursued her way along the 
coast-road to Portland. At the end of an hour she had 
been rowed across the Fleet (which then lacked the con- 
venience of a bridge), and reached the base of Portland 
Hill. The steep incline before her was dotted with 
houses, showing the pleasant peculiarity of one man's 
doorstep being behind his neighbour's chimney, and 
slabs of stone as the common material for walls, roof, 
floor, pig-sty, stable-manger, door-scraper, and garden- 
stile. Anne gained the summit, and followed along the 
central track over the huge lump of freestone which 
forms the peninsula, the wide sea prospect extending as 
she went on. Weary with her journey, she approached 
the extreme southerly peak of rock, and gazed from the 
cliff at Portland Bill, or Beal, as it was in those days 
more correctly called. 

The wild, herbless, weather-worn promontory was 
quite a solitude, and, saving the one old lighthouse 
about fifty yards up the slope, scarce a mark was visible 
to show that humanity had ever been near the spot. 
Anne found herself a seat on a stone, and swept with 
her eyes the tremulous expanse of water around her that 
seemed to utter a ceaseless unintelligible incantation. 


Out of the three hundred and sixty degrees of her com- 
plete horizon two hundred and fifty were covered by 
waves, the coup tfail including the area of troubled 
waters known as the Race, where two seas met to effect 
the destruction of such vessels as could not be mastered 
by one. She counted the craft within her view : there 
were five; no, there were only four; no, there were 
seven, some of the specks having resolved themselves 
into two. They were all small coasters, and kept well 
within sight of land. 

Anne sank into a reverie. Then she heard a slight 
noise on her left hand, and turning beheld an old sailor, 
who had approached with a glass. He was levelling it 
over the sea in a direction to the south-east, and some- 
what removed from that in which her own eyes had been 
wandering. Anne moved a few steps thitherward, so as 
to unclose to her view a deeper sweep on that side, and 
by this discovered a ship of far larger size than any 
which had yet dotted the main before her. Its sails 
were for the most part new and clean, and in comparison 
with its rapid progress before the wind the small brigs 
and ketches seemed standing still. Upon this striking 
object the old man's glass was bent. 

' What do you see, sailor ? ' she asked. 

' Almost nothing,' he answered. ' My sight is so 
gone off lately that things, one and all, be but a Novem- 
ber mist to me. And yet I fain would see to-day. I 
am looking for the Victory? 

1 Why ? ' she said quickly. 

' I have a son aboard her. He's one of three from 
these parts. There's the captain, there's my son Ned, 
and there's young Loveday of Overcombe he that lately 

' Shall I look for you ? ' said Anne ; after a pause. 

' Certainly, mis'ess, if so be you please.' 

Anne took the glass, and he supported it by his 
arm. ' It is a large ship,' she said, ' with three masts, 


three rows of guns along the side, and all her sails 

' I guessed as much.' 

' There is a little flag in front over her bowsprit.' 

' The jack.' 

' And there's a large one flying at her stern.' 

' The ensign.' 

' And a white one on her fore-topmast.' 

' That's the admiral's flag, the flag of my Lord 
Nelson. What is her figure-head, my dear ? ' 

' A coat-of-arms, supported on this side by a sailor.' 

Her companion nodded with satisfaction. ' On the 
other side of that figure-head is a marine.' 

' She is twisting round in a curious way, and her sails 
sink in like old cheeks, and she shivers like a leaf upon 
a tree.' 

' She is in stays, for the larboard tack. I can see 
what she's been doing. She's been re'ching close in to 
avoid the flood tide, as the wind is to the sou'-west, and 
she's bound down; but as soon as the ebb made, d'ye 
see, they made sail to the west'ard. Captain Hardy 
may be depended upon for that; he knows every 
current about here, being a native.' 

' And now I can see the other side ; it is a soldier 
where a sailor was before. You are sure it is the 
Victory ? ' 

' I am sure.' 

After this a frigate came into view the Euryalus 
sailing in the same direction. Anne sat down, and her 
eyes never left the ships. 'Tell me more about the 
Victory,' she said. 

' She is the best sailer in the service, and she carries 
a hundred guns. The heaviest be on the lower deck, 
the next size on the middle deck, the next on the main 
and upper decks. My son Ned's place is on the lower 
deck, because he's short, and they put the short men 



Bob, though not tall, was not likely to be specially 
selected for shortness. She pictured him on the upper 
deck, in his snow-white trousers and jacket of navy blue, 
looking perhaps towards the very point of land where 
she then was. 

The great silent ship, with her population of blue- 
jackets, marines, officers, captain, and the admiral who 
was not to return alive, passed like a phantom the 
meridian of the Bill. Sometimes her aspect was that of 
a large white bat, sometimes that of a grey one. In 
the course of time the watching girl saw that the ship 
had passed her nearest point ; the breadth of her sails 
diminished by foreshortening, till she assumed the form 
of an egg on end. After this something seemed to 
twinkle, and Anne, who had previously withdrawn from 
the old sailor, went back to him, and looked again 
through the glass. The twinkling was the light falling 
upon the cabin windows of the ship's stern. She ex- 
plained it to the old man. 

'Then we see now what the enemy have seen but 
once. That was in seventy-nine, when she sighted the 
French and Spanish fleet off Scilly, and she retreated 
because she feared a landing. Well, 'tis a brave ship, 
and she carries brave men ! ' 

Anne's tender bosom heaved, but she said nothing, 
and again became absorbed in contemplation. 

The Victory was fast dropping away. She was on 
the horizon, and soon appeared hull down. That 
seemed to be like the beginning of a greater end than 
her present vanishing. Anne Garland could not stay by 
the sailor any longer, and went about a stone's-throw off, 
where she was hidden by the inequality of the cliff from 
his view. The vessel was now exactly end on, and 
stood out in the direction of the Start, her width having 
contracted to the proportion of a feather. She sat 
down again, and mechanically took out some biscuits 
that she had brought, foreseeing that her waiting might 


be long. But she could not eat one of them ; eating 
seemed to jar with the mental tenseness of the moment ; 
and her undeviating gaze continued to follow the 
lessened ship with the fidelity of a balanced needle to a 
magnetic stone, all else in her being motionless. 

The courses of the Victory were absorbed into the 
main, then her topsails went, and then her top-gal- 
lants. She was now no more than a dead fly's wing 
on a sheet of spider's web; and even this fragment 
diminished. Anne could hardly bear to see the" end, 
and yet she resolved not to flinch. The admiral's flag 
sank behind the watery line, and in a minute the very 
truck of the last topmast stole away. The Victory was 

Anne's lip quivered as she murmured, without remov- 
ing her wet eyes from the vacant and solemn horizon, 
' ".They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business 
in great waters " ' 

' " These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders 
in the deep," ' was returned by a man's voice from 
behind her. 

Looking round quickly, she saw a soldier standing 
there; and the grave eyes of John Loveday bent on 

"Tis what I was thinking,' she said, trying to be 

' You were saying it,' he answered gently. 

1 Was I ? I did not know it. ... How came you 
here ? ' she presently added. 

' I have been behind you a good while ; but you 
never turned round.' 

' I was deeply occupied,' she said in an undertone. 

'Yes I too came to see him pass. I heard this 
morning that Lord Nelson had embarked, and I knew 
at once that they would sail immediately. The Victory 
and Euryalus are to join the rest of the fleet at Ply- 
mouth. There was a great crowd of people assembled 


to see the admiral off; they cheered him and the ship as 
she dropped down. He took his coffin on board with 
him, they say.' 

' His coffin ! ' said Anne, turning deadly pale. ' Some- 
thing terrible, then, is meant by that ! O, why would 
Bob go in that ship? doomed to destruction from the 
very beginning like this ! ' 

' It was his determination to sail under Captain 
Hardy, and under no one else,' said John. ' There 
may be hot work ; but we must hope for the best.' 
And observing how wretched she looked, he added, 
' But won't you let me help you back ? If you can 
walk as far as Hope Cove it will be enough. A lerret 
is going from there across the bay homeward to the 
harbour in the course of an hour ; it belongs to a 
man I know, and they can take one passenger, I am 

She turned her back upon the Channel, and by his 
help soon reached the place indicated. The boat was 
lying there as he had said. She found it to belong to 
the old man who had been with her at the Bill, and was 
in charge of his two younger sons. The trumpet-major 
helped her into it over the slippery blocks of stone, one 
of the young men spread his jacket for her to sit on, 
and as soon as they pulled from shore John climbed up 
the blue-grey cliff, and disappeared over the top, to 
return to the mainland by road. 

Anne was in the town by three o'clock. The trip in 
the stern of the lerret had quite refreshed her, with the 
help of the biscuits, which she had at last been able to 
eat. The van from the port to Overcombe did not 
start till four o'clock, and feeling no further interest in 
the gaieties of the place, she strolled on past the King's 
house to the outskirts, her mind settling down again 
upon the possibly sad fate of the Victory when she found 
herself alone. She did not hurry on ; and finding that 
even now there wanted another half-hour to the carrier's 


time, she turned into a little lane to escape the inspec- 
tion of the numerous passers-by. Here all was quite 
lonely and still, and she sat down under a willow-tree, 
absently regarding the landscape, which had begun to 
put on the rich tones of declining summer, but which 
to her was as hollow and faded as a theatre by day. 
She could hold out no longer; burying her face in her 
hands, she wept without restraint. 

Some yards behind her was a little spring of water, 
having a stone margin round it to prevent the cattle 
from treading in the sides and filling it up with dirt. 
While she wept, two elderly gentlemen entered unper- 
ceived upon the scene, and walked on to the spring's 
brink. Here they paused and looked in, afterwards 
moving round it, and then stooping as if to smell or 
taste its waters. The spring was, in fact, a sulphurous 
one, then recently discovered by a physician who lived 
in the neighbourhood; and it was beginning to attract 
some attention, having by common report contributed 
to effect such wonderful cures as almost passed belief. 
After a considerable discussion, apparently on how the 
pool might be improved for better use, one of the two 
elderly gentlemen turned away, leaving the other still 
probing the spring with his cane. The first stranger, 
who wore a blue coat with gilt buttons, came on in the 
direction of Anne Garland, and seeing her sad posture 
went quickly up to her, and said abruptly, ' What is the 
matter ? ' 

Anne, who in her grief had observed nothing of the 
gentlemen's presence, withdrew her handkerchief from 
her eyes and started to her feet. She instantly recog- 
nised her interrogator as the King. 

' What, what, crying ? ' his Majesty inquired kindly. 
' How is this ! ' 

' I have seen a dear friend go away, sir,' she faltered, 
with downcast eyes. 

' Ah ! partings are sad very sad for us all. You 


must hope your friend will return soon. Where is he or 
she gone ? ' 

' I don't know, your Majesty.' 

1 Don't know how is that ? ' 

' He is a sailor on board the Victory.' 

' Then he has reason to be proud,' said the King with 
interest. ' He is your brother ? ' 

Anne tried to explain what he was, but could not, 
and blushed with painful heat. 

' Well, well, well ; what is his name ? ' 

In spite of Anne's confusion and low spirits, her 
womanly shrewdness told her at once that no harm 
could be done by revealing Bob's name; and she 
answered, ' His name is Robert Loveday, sir.' 

' Loveday a good name. I shall not forget it. Now 
dry your cheeks, and don't cry any more. Loveday 
Robert Loveday.' 

Anne curtseyed, the King smiled good-humouredly, 
and turned to rejoin his companion, who was afterwards 

heard to be Dr. , the physician in attendance at 

Gloucester Lodge. This gentleman had in the mean- 
time filled a small phial with the medicinal water, which 
he carefully placed in his pocket; and on the King 
coming up they retired together and disappeared. There- 
upon Anne, now thoroughly aroused, followed the same 
way with a gingerly tread, just in time to see them get 
into a carriage which was in waiting at the turning of 
the lane. 

She quite forgot the carrier, and everything else in 
connexion with riding home. Flying along the road 
rapidly and unconsciously, when she awoke to a sense 
of her whereabouts she was so near to Overcombe as to 
make the carrier not worth waiting for. She had been 
borne up in this hasty spurt at the end of a weary day 
by visions of Bob promoted to the rank of admiral, or 
something equally wonderful, by the King's special com- 
mand, the chief result of the promotion being, in her 
321 x 


arrangement of the piece, that he would stay at home 
and go to sea no more. But she was not a girl who 
indulged in extravagant fancies long, and before she 
reached home she thought that the King had probably 
forgotten her by that time, and her troubles, and her 
lover's name. 




I HE remaining fortnight of the month of September 
passed away, with a general decline from the summer's 
excitements. The royal family left the watering-place 
the first week in October, the German Legion with their 
artillery about the same time. The dragoons still re- 
mained at the barracks just out of the town, and John 
Loveday brought to Anne every newspaper that he could 
lay hands on, especially such as contained any fragment 
of shipping news. This threw them much together ; and 
at these times John was often awkward and confused, 
on account of the unwonted stress of concealing his 
great love for her. 

Her interests had grandly developed from the limits 
of Overcombe and the town life hard by, to an exten- 
siveness truly European. During the whole month 
of October, however, not a single grain of informa- 
tion reached her, or anybody else, concerning Nelson 
and his blockading squadron off Cadiz. There were 
the customary bad jokes about Buonaparte, especially 
when it was found that the whole French army had 
turned its back upon Boulogne and set out for the 
Rhine. Then came accounts of his march through 


Germany and into Austria ; but not a word about the 

At the beginning of autumn John brought news 
which fearfully depressed her. The Austrian General 
Mack had capitulated with his whole army. Then were 
revived the old misgivings as to invasion. ' Instead of 
having to cope with him weary with waiting, we shall 
have to encounter This Man fresh from the fields of 
victory,' ran the newspaper article. 

But the week which had led off with such a dreary 
piping was to end in another key. On the very day 
when Mack's army was piling arms at the feet of its 
conqueror, a blow had been struck by Bob Loveday 
and his comrades which eternally shattered the enemy's 
force by sea. Four days after the receipt of the 
Austrian news Corporal Tullidge ran into the miller's 
house to inform him that on the previous Monday, at 
eleven in the morning, the Pickle schooner, Lieutenant 
Lapenotiere, had arrived at Falmouth with despatches 
from the fleet ; that the stage-coaches on the highway 
through Wessex to London were chalked with the words 
' Great Victory ! ' ' Glorious Triumph ! ' and so on ; 
and that all the country people were wild to know 

On Friday afternoon John arrived with authentic 
news of the battle off Cape Trafalgar, and the death of 
Nelson. Captain Hardy was alive, though his escape 
had been narrow enough, his shoe-buckle having been 
carried away by a shot. It was feared that the Victory 
had been the scene of the heaviest slaughter among all 
the ships engaged, but as yet no returns of killed and 
wounded had been issued, beyond a rough list of the 
numbers in some of the ships. 

The suspense of the little household in Overcombe 

Mill was great in the extreme. John came thither daily 

for more than a week ; but no further particulars reached 

England till the end of that time, and then only the 



meagre intelligence that there had been a gale immedi- 
ately after the battle, and that many of the prizes had 
been lost. Anne said little to all these things, and pre- 
served a superstratum of calmness on her countenance ; 
but some inner voice seemed to whisper to her that 
Bob was no more. Miller Loveday drove to Pos'ham 
several times to learn if the Captain's sisters had re- 
ceived any more definite tidings than these flying reports ; 
but that family had heard nothing which could in any 
way relieve the miller's anxiety. When at last, at the 
end of November, there appeared a final and revised 
list of killed and wounded as issued by Admiral Colling- 
wood, it was a useless sheet to the Lovedays. To their 
great pain it contained no names but those of officers, 
the friends of ordinary seamen and marines being in 
those good old days left to discover their losses as best 
they might. 

Anne's conviction of her loss increased with the 
darkening of the early winter time. Bob was not a 
cautious man who would avoid needless exposure, and 
a hundred and fifty of the Victory's crew had been dis- 
abled or slain. Anybody who had looked into her 
room at this time would have seen that her favourite 
reading was the office for the Burial of the Dead at Sea, 
beginning ' We therefore commit his body to the deep.' 
In these first days of December several of the victorious 
fleet came into port : but not the Victory. Many sup- 
posed that that noble ship, disabled by the battle, had 
gone to the bottom in the subsequent tempestuous 
weather; and the belief was persevered in till it was 
told in the town and port that she had been seen 
passing up the Channel. Two days later the Victory 
arrived at Portsmouth. 

Then letters from survivors began to appear in the 
public prints which John so regularly brought to Anne ; 
but though he watched the mails with unceasing vigi- 
lance there was never a letter from Bob. It sometimes 


crossed John's mind that his brother might still be 
alive and well, and that in his wish to abide by his 
expressed intention of giving up Anne and home life 
he was deliberately lax in writing. If so, Bob was 
carrying out the idea too thoughtlessly by half, as could 
be seen by watching the effects of suspense upon the 
fair face of the victim, and the anxiety of the rest of 
the family. 

It was a clear day in December. The first slight 
snow of the season had been sifted over the earth, and 
one side of the apple-tree branches in the miller's garden 
was touched with white, though a few leaves were still 
lingering on the tops of the younger trees. A short 
sailor of the royal navy, who was not Bob, nor anything 
like him, crossed the mill court and came to the door. 
The miller hastened out and brought him into the room, 
where John, Mrs. Loveday, and Anne Garland were all 

' I'm from aboard the Victory] said the sailor. 
' My name's Jim Cornick. And your lad is alive and 

They breathed rather than spoke their thankfulness 
and relief, the miller's eyes being moist as he turned 
aside to calm himself; while Anne, having first jumped 
up wildly from her seat, sank back again under the 
almost insupportable joy that trembled through her limbs 
to her utmost finger. 

' I've come from Spithead to Pos'ham,' the sailor 
continued, ' and now I am going on to father at Bud- 

' Ah ! I know your father,' cried the trumpet-major, 
' old James Cornick.' 

It was the man who had brought Anne in his lerret 
from Portland Bill. 

' And Bob hasn't got a scratch ? ' said the miller. 

' Not a scratch,' said Cornick. 

Loveday then bustled off to draw the visitor some- 


thing to drink. Anne Garland, with a glowing blush on 
her face, had gone to the back part of the room, where 
she was the very embodiment of sweet content as she 
slightly swayed herself without speaking. A little tide 
of happiness seemed to ebb and flow through her in 
listening to the sailor's words, moving her figure with it. 
The seaman and John went on conversing. 

'Bob had a good deal to do with barricading the 
hawse-holes afore we were in action, and the Adm'l and 
Cap'n both were very much pleased at how 'twas done. 
When the Adm'l went up the quarter-deck ladder, Cap'n 
Hardy said a word or two to Bob, but what it was I 
don't know, for I was quartered at a gun some ways off. 
However, Bob saw the Adm'l stagger when 'a was 
wownded, and was one of the men who carried him to 
the cockpit. After that he and some other lads jumped 
aboard the French ship, and I believe they was in her 
when she struck her flag. What 'a did next I can't say, 
for the wind had dropped, and the smoke was like a 
cloud. But 'a got a good deal talked about ; and they 
say there's promotion in store for'n.' 

At this point in the story Jim Cornick stopped to 
drink, and a low unconscious humming came from Anne 
in her distant corner; the faint melody continued more 
or less when the conversation between the sailor and the 
Lovedays was renewed. 

' We heard afore that the Victory was near knocked 
to pieces,' said the miller. 

' Knocked to pieces ? You'd say so if so be you 
could see her ! Gad, her sides be battered like an old 
penny piece ; the shot be still sticking in her wales, and 
her sails be like so many clap-nets : we have run all the 
way home under jury topmasts ; and as for her decks, 
you may swab wi' hot water, and you may swab wi' cold, 
but there's the blood-stains, and there they'll bide. . . . 
The Cap'n had a narrow escape, like many o' the rest 
a shot shaved his ankle like a razor. You should have 
3 2 7 


seen that man's face in the het o' battle, his features 
were as if they'd been cast in steel.' 

' We rather expected a letter from Bob before this.' 

' Well,' said Jim Cornick, with a smile of toleration, 
' you must make allowances. The truth o't is, he's 
engaged just now at Portsmouth, like a good many of 
the rest from our ship. . . . 'Tis a very nice young 
woman that he's a courting of, and I make no doubt 
that she'll be an excellent wife for him.' 

' Ah ! ' said Mrs. Loveday, in a warning tone. 

' Courting wife ? ' said the miller. 

They instinctively looked towards Anne. Anne had 
started as if shaken by an invisible hand, and a thick 
mist of doubt seemed to obscure the intelligence of her 
eyes. This was but for two or three moments. Very 
pale, she arose and went right up to the seaman. John 
gently tried to intercept her, but she passed him by. 

' Do you speak of Robert Loveday as courting a 
wife ? ' she asked, without the least betrayal of emotion. 

' I didn't see you, miss,' replied Cornick, turning. 
' Yes, your brother hev' his eye on a wife, and he 
deserves one. I hope you don't mind ? ' 

' Not in the least,' she said, with a stage laugh. ' I 
am interested, naturally. And what is she ? ' 

'A very nice young master-baker's daughter, honey. 
A very wise choice of the young man's.' 

' Is she fair or dark ? ' 

' Her hair is rather light.' 

4 1 like light hair ; and her name ? ' 

' Her name is Caroline. But can it be that my 
story hurts ye ? If so ' 

' Yes, yes,' said John, interposing anxiously. ' We 
don't care for more just at this moment.' 

' We do care for more ! ' said Anne vehemently. 
' Tell it all, sailor. That is a very pretty name, Caroline. 
When are they going to be married ? ' 

' I don't know as how the day is settled,' answered 


Jim, even now scarcely conscious of the devastation he 
was causing in one fair breast. ' But from the rate the 
courting is scudding along at, I should say it won't be 
long first.' 

' If you see him when you go back, give him my best 
wishes,' she lightly said, as she moved away. 'And,' 
she added, with solemn bitterness, ' say that I am glad 
to hear he is making such good use of the first days of 
his escape from the Valley of the Shadow of Death ! ' 
She went away, expressing indifference by audibly sing- 
ing in the distance 

' Shall we go dance the round, the round, the round, 
Shall we go dance the round ? ' 

'Your sister is lively at the news,' observed Jim 

'Yes,' murmured John gloomily, as he gnawed his 
lower lip and kept his eyes fixed on the fire. 

'Well,' continued the man from the Victory, 'I 
won't say that your brother's intended ha'n't got some 
ballast, which is very lucky for'n, as he might have picked 
up with a girl without a single copper nail. To be sure 
there was a time we had when we got into port ! It was 
open house for us all ! ' And after mentally regarding 
the scene for a few seconds Jim emptied his cup and 
rose to go. 

The miller was saying some last words to him outside 
the house, Anne's voice had hardly ceased singing up- 
stairs, John was standing by the fireplace, and Mrs. 
Loveday was crossing the room to join her daughter, 
whose manner had given her some uneasiness, when a 
noise came from above the ceiling, as of some heavy body 
falling. Mrs. Loveday rushed to the staircase, saying, 
' Ah, I feared something ! ' and she was followed by John. 

When they entered Anne's room, which they both did 
almost at one moment, they found her lying insensible 


upon the floor. The trumpet-major, his lips tightly 
closed, lifted her in his arms, and kid her upon the 
bed ; after which he went back to the door to give room 
to her mother, who was bending over the girl with some 

Presently Mrs. Loveday looked up and said to him, 
' She is only in a faint, John, and her colour is coming 
back. Now leave her to me; I will be downstairs in a 
few minutes, and tell you how she is.' 

John left the room. When he gained the lower apart- 
ment his father was standing by the chimney-piece, the 
sailor having gone. The trumpet-major went up to the 
fire, and, grasping the edge of the high chimney-shelf, 
stood silent. 

' Did I hear a noise when I went out ? ' asked the 
elder, in a tone of misgiving. 

'Yes, you did,' said John. 'It was she, but her 
mother says she is better now. Father,' he added im- 
petuously, ' Bob is a worthless blockhead ! If there had 
been any good in him he would have been drowned years 

' John, John not too fast,' said the miller. ' That's 
a hard thing to say of your brother, and you ought to be 
ashamed of it.' 

'Well, he tries me more than I can bear. Good 
God ! what can a man be made of to go on as he does ? 
Why didn't he come home ; or if he couldn't get leave 
why didn't he write ? 'Tis scandalous of him to serve a 
woman like that ! ' 

' Gently, gently. The chap hev done his duty as a 
sailor; and though there might have been something 
between him and Anne, her mother, in talking it over 
with me, has said many times that she couldn't think of 
their marrying till Bob had settled down in business with 
me. Folks that gain victories must have a little liberty 
allowed 'em. Look at the Admiral himself, for that 



John continued looking at the red coals, till hearing 
Mrs. Loveday's foot on the staircase, he went to meet 

' She is better,' said Mrs. Loveday ; ' but she won't 
come down again to-day.' 

Could John have heard what the poor girl was 
moaning to herself at that moment as she lay writhing 
on the bed, he would have doubted her mother's assur- 
ance. ' If he had been dead I could have borne it, but 
this I cannot bear ! ' 





MEANWHILE Sailor Cornick had gone on his way 
as far as the forking roads, where he met Festus 
Derriman on foot. The latter, attracted by the seaman's 
dress, and by seeing him come from the mill, at once 
accosted him. Jim, with the greatest readiness, fell into 
conversation, and told the same story as that he had 
related at the mill. 

'Bob Loveday going to be married?' repeated 

' You all seem struck of a heap wi' that.' 
' No ; I never heard news that pleased me more.' 
When Cornick was gone, Festus, instead of passing 
straight on, halted on the little bridge and meditated. 
Bob, being now interested elsewhere, would probably 
not resent the siege of Anne's heart by another; there 
could, at any rate, be no further possibility of that 
looming duel which had troubled the yeoman's mind 
ever since his horse-play on Anne at the house on the 
down. To march into the mill and propose to Mrs. 
Loveday for Anne before John's interest could revive in 
her was, to this hero's thinking, excellent discretion. 
The day had already begun to darken when he 
33 2 


entered, and the cheerful fire shone red upon the floor 
and walls. Mrs. Loveday received him alone, and asked 
him to take a seat by the chimney-corner, a little of the 
old hankering for him as a son-in-law having permanently 
remained with her. 

' Your servant, Mrs. Loveday,' he said, ' and I will 
tell you at once what I come for. You will say that I 
take time by the forelock when I inform you that it is to 
push on my long-wished-for alliance wi' your daughter, 
as I believe she is now a free woman again. 5 

' Thank you, Mr. Derriman,' said the mother placably. 
' But she is ill at present. I'll mention it to her when 
she is better.' 

' Ask her to alter her cruel, cruel resolves against me, 
on the score of of my consuming passion for her. In 
short,' continued Festus, dropping his parlour language 
in his warmth, ' I'll tell thee what, Dame Loveday, I 
want the maid, and must have her.' 

Mrs. Loveday replied that that was very plain 

' Well, 'tis. But Bob has given her up. He never 
meant to marry her. I'll tell you, Mrs. Loveday, what 
I have never told a soul before. I was standing upon 
Budmouth Quay on that very day in last September 
that Bob set sail, and I heard him say to his brother 
John that he gave your daughter up.' 

' Then it was very unmannerly of him to trifle with 
her so,' said Mrs. Loveday warmly. ' Who did- he give 
her up to ? ' 

Festus replied with hesitation, ' He gave her up to 

' To John ? How could he give her up to a man 
already over head and ears in love with that actress 
woman ? ' 

' O ? You surprise me. Which actress is it ? ' 

' That Miss Johnson. Anne tells me that he loves 
her hopelessly.' 



Festus arose. Miss Johnson seemed suddenly to 
acquire high value as a sweetheart at this announcement. 
He had himself felt a nameless attractiveness in her, and 
John had done likewise. John crossed his path in all 
possible ways. 

Before the yeoman had replied somebody opened the 
door, and the firelight shone upon the uniform of the 
person they discussed. Festus nodded on recognizing 
him, wished Mrs. Loveday good evening, and went out 

' So Bob told you he meant to break off with my 
Anne when he went away ? ' Mrs. Loveday remarked to 
the trumpet- major. ' I wish I had known of it before.' 

John appeared disturbed at the sudden charge. He 
murmured that he could not deny it, and then hastily 
turned from her and followed Derriman, whom he saw 
before him on the bridge. 

' Derriman ! ' he shouted. 

Festus started and looked round. ' Well, trumpet- 
major,' he said blandly. 

' When will you have sense enough to mind your own 
business, and not come here telling things you have 
heard by sneaking behind people's backs ? ' demanded 
John hotly. ' If you can't learn in any other way, I shall 
have to pull your ears again, as I did the other day ! ' 

' You pull my ears ? How can you tell that lie, when 
you know 'twas somebody else pulled 'em ? ' 

' O no, no. I pulled your ears, and thrashed you in 
a mild way.' 

' You'll swear to it ? Surely 'twas another man ? ' 

' It was in the parlour at the public-house ; you were 
almost in the dark.' And John added a few details as 
to the particular blows, which amounted to proof itself. 

1 Then I heartily ask your pardon for saying 'twas a 
lie ! ' cried Festus, advancing with extended hand and 
a genial smile. ' Sure, if I had known 'twas you, I 
wouldn't have insulted you by denying it.' 


' That was why you didn't challenge me, then ? ' 

' That was it ! I wouldn't for the world have hurt 
your nice sense of honour by letting 'ee go unchallenged, 
if I had known ! And now, you see, unfortunately I 
can't mend the mistake. So long a time has passed 
since it happened that the heat of my temper is gone off. 
I couldn't oblige 'ee, try how I might, for I am not a 
man, trumpet-major, that can butcher in cold blood 
no, not I, nor you neither, from what I know of 'ee. So, 
willy-nilly, we must fain let it pass, eh ? ' 

'We must, I suppose,' said John, smiling grimly. 
'Who did you think I was, then, that night when I 
boxed you all round ? ' 

' No, don't press me,' replied the yeoman. ' I can't 
reveal ; it would be disgracing myself to show how very 
wide of the truth the mockery of wine was able to lead 
my senses. We will let it be buried in eternal mixens 
of forgetfulness.' 

' As you wish,' said the trumpet-major loftily. ' But 
if you ever should think you knew it was me, why, you 
know where to find me ? ' And Loveday walked away. 

The instant that he was gone Festus shook his fist 
at the evening star, which happened to lie in the same 
direction as that taken by the dragoon. 

' Now for my revenge ! Duels ? Lifelong disgrace 
to me if ever I fight with a man of blood below my own ! 
There are other remedies for upper-class souls ! . . 
Matilda that's my way.' 

Festus strode along till he reached the Hall, where 
Cripplestraw appeared gazing at him from under the arch 
of the porter's lodge. Derriman dashed open the en- 
trance-hurdle with such violence that the whole row of 
them fell flat in the mud. 

' Mercy, Maister Festus ! ' said Cripplestraw. ' " Surely," 
I says to myself when I see ye a-coming, " surely Mais- 
ter Festus is fuming like that because there's no chance of 
the enemy coming this year after all." ' 


' Cr-r-ripplestraw ! I have been wounded to the heart,' 
replied Derriman, with a lurid brow. 

' And the man yet lives, and you wants yer horse- 
pistols instantly? Certainly, Maister F ' 

' No, Cripplestraw, not my pistols, but my new-cut 
clothes, my heavy gold seals, my silver-topped cane, and 
my buckles that cost more money than he ever saw ! 
Yes, I must tell somebody, and I'll tell you, because 
there's no other fool near. He loves her heart and soul. 
He's poor; she's tip-top genteel, and not rich. I am 
rich, by comparison. I'll court the pretty play-actress, 
and win her before his eyes.' 

' Play-actress, Maister Derriman ? ' 

' Yes. I saw her this very day, met her by accident, 
and spoke to her. She's still in the town perhaps be- 
cause of him. I can meet her at any hour of the day 
But I don't mean to marry her; not I. I will court 
her for my pastime, and to annoy him. It will be all 
the more death to him that I don't want her. Then 
perhaps he will say to me, " You have taken my one ewe 
lamb " meaning that I am the king, and he's the poor 
man, as in the church verse; and he'll beg for mercy 
when 'tis too late unless, meanwhile, I shall have tired 
of my new toy. Saddle the horse, Cripplestraw, to- 
morrow at ten.' 

Full of this resolve to scourge John Loveday to the 
quick through his passion for Miss Johnson, Festus 
came out booted and spurred at the time appointed, 
and set off on his morning ride. 

Miss Johnson's theatrical engagement having long 
ago terminated, she would have left the Royal watering- 
place with the rest of the visitors had not matrimonial 
hopes detained her there. These had nothing whatever 
to do with John Loveday, as may be imagined, but with 
a stout, staid boat-builder in Cove Row by the quay, 
who had shown much interest in her impersonations. 
Unfortunately this substantial man had not been quite 


so attentive since the end of the season as his previous 
manner led her to expect ; and it was a great pleasure 
to the lady to see Mr. Derriman leaning over the harbour 
bridge with his eyes fixed upon her as she came towards 
it after a stroll past her elderly wooer's house. 

' Od take it, ma'am, you didn't tell me when I saw 
you last that the tooting man with the blue jacket and 
lace was yours devoted ? ' began Festus. 

' Who do you mean ? ' In Matilda's ever-changing 
emotional interests, John Loveday was a stale and un- 
profitable personality. 

'Why, that trumpet-major man.' 

< O ! What of him ? ' 

' Come ; he loves you, and you know it, ma'am.' 

She knew, at any rate, how to take the current when 
it served. So she glanced at Festus, folded her lips 
meaningly, and nodded. 

' I've come to cut him out.' 

She shook her head, it being unsafe to speak till she 
knew a little more of the subject. 

' What ! ' said Festus, reddening, ' do you mean to 
say that you think of him seriously you, who might 
look so much higher ? ' 

' Constant dropping will wear away a stone ; and you 
should only hear his pleading ! His handsome face is 
impressive, and his manners are O, so genteel ! I 
am not rich; I am, in short, a poor lady of decayed 
family, who has nothing to boast of but my blood and 
ancestors, and they won't find a body in food and cloth- 
ing ! I hold the world but as the world, Derrimanio 
a stage where every man must play a part, and mine 
a sad one ! ' She dropped her eyes thoughtfully and 

'We will talk of this,' said Festus, much affected. 
' Let us walk to the Look-out.' 

She made no objection, and said, as they turned that 
way, ' Mr. Derriman, a long time ago I found something 
337 Y 


belonging to you; but I have never yet remembered to 
return it.' And she drew from her bosom the paper 
which Anne had dropped in the meadow when eluding 
the grasp of Festus on that summer day. 

' Zounds, I smell fresh meat ! ' cried Festus when he 
had looked it over. ' 'Tis in my uncle's writing, and 'tis 
what I heard him singing on the day the French didn't 
come, and afterwards saw him marking in the road. 
'Tis something he's got hid away. Give me the paper, 
there's a dear ; 'tis worth sterling gold ! ' 

' Halves, then ? ' said Matilda tenderly. 

' Gad, yes anything ! ' replied Festus, blazing into 
a smile, for she had looked up in her best new manner 
at the possibility that he might be worth the winning. 
They went up the steps' to the summit of the cliff, and 
dwindled over it against the sky. 




THERE was no letter from Bob, though December 
had passed, and the new year was two weeks old. His 
movements were, however, pretty accurately registered 
in the papers, which John still brought, but which Anne 
no longer read. During the second week in December 
the Victory sailed for Sheerness, and on the gth of the 
following January the public funeral of Lord Nelson took 
place in St. Paul's. 

Then there came a meagre line addressed to the 
family in general. Bob's new Portsmouth attachment 
was not mentioned, but he told them he had been one 
of the eight-and-forty seamen who walked two-and-two 
in the funeral procession, and that Captain Hardy had 
borne the banner of emblems on the same occasion. 
The crew was soon to be paid off at Chatham, when 
he thought of returning to Portsmouth for a few days 
to see a valued friend. After that he should come 

But the spring advanced without bringing him, and 
John watched Anne Garland's desolation with aug- 
menting desire to do something towards consoling her. 
The old feelings, so religiously held in check, were 


stimulated to rebelliousness, though they did not show 
themselves in any direct manner as yet. 

The miller, in the meantime, who seldom interfered 
in such matters, was observed to look meaningly at 
Anne and the trumpet-major from day to day ; and 
by-and-by he spoke privately to John. 

His words were short and to the point : Anne was 
very melancholy ; she had thought too much of Bob. 
Now 'twas plain that they had lost him for many years 
to come. Well; he had always felt that of the two 
he would rather John married her. Now John might 
settle down there, and succeed where Bob had failed. 
' So if you could get her, my sonny, to think less of 
him and more of thyself, it would be a good thing 
for all.' 

An inward excitement had risen in John ; but he 
suppressed it and said firmly 

' Fairness to Bob before everything ! ' 

' He hev forgot her, and there's an end on't.' 

1 She's not forgot him.' 

' Well, well ; think it over.' 

This discourse was the cause of his penning a letter 
to his brother. He begged for a distinct statement 
whether, as John at first supposed, Bob's verbal re- 
nunciation of Anne on the quay had been only a 
momentary ebullition of friendship, which it would be 
cruel to take literally ; or whether, as seemed now, it 
had passed from a hasty resolve to a standing purpose, 
persevered in for his own pleasure, with not a care for 
the result on poor Anne. 

John waited anxiously for the answer, but no answer 
came; and the silence seemed even more significant 
than a letter of assurance could have been of his abso- 
lution from further support to a claim which Bob him- 
self had so clearly renounced. Thus it happened that 
paternal pressure, brotherly indifference, and his own 
released impulse operated in one delightful direction, 


and the trumpet-major once more approached Anne 
as in the old time. 

But it was not till she had been left to herself for 
a full five months, and the blue-bells and ragged-robins 
of the following year were again making themselves 
common to the rambling eye, that he directly addressed 
her. She was tying up a group of tall flowering plants 
in the garden : she knew that he was behind her, but 
she did not turn. She had subsided into a placid 
dignity which enabled her when watched to perform 
any little action with seeming composure very different 
from the flutter of her inexperienced days. 

' Are you never going to turn round ? ' he at length 
asked good-humouredly. 

She then did turn, and looked at him for a moment 
without speaking ; a certain suspicion looming in her 
eyes, as if suggested by his perceptible want of ease. 

' How like summer it is getting to feel, is it not ? ' 
she said. 

John admitted that it was getting to feel like 
summer; and, bending his gaze upon her with an 
earnestness which no longer left any doubt of his sub- 
ject, went on to ask 

' Have you ever in these last weeks thought of how 
it used to be between us ? ' 

She replied quickly, ' O, John, you shouldn't begin 
that again. I am almost another woman now ! ' 

'Well, that's all the more reason why I should, 
isn't it ? ' 

Anne looked thoughtfully to the other end of the 
garden, faintly shaking her head ; ' I don't quite see it 
like that,' she returned. 

' You feel yourself quite free, don't you ? ' 

' Quite free ! ' she said instantly, and with proud dis- 
tinctness ; her eyes fell, and she repeated more slowly, 
' Quite free.' Then her thoughts seemed to fly from 
herself to him. ' But you are not ? ' 


' I am not ? ' 

' Miss Johnson ! ' 

' O that woman ! You know as well as I that 
was all make-up, and that I never for a moment thought 
of her.' 

' I had an idea you were acting ; but I wasn't sure.' 

' Well, that's nothing now. Anne, I want to relieve 
your life; to cheer you in some way; to make some 
amends for my brother's bad conduct. If you cannot 
love me, liking will be well enough. I have thought 
over every side of it so many times for months have I 
been thinking it over and I am at last sure that I do 
right to put it to you in this way. That I don't wrong 
Bob I am quite convinced. As far as he is concerned 
we be both free. Had I not been sure of that I would 
never have spoken. Father wants me to take on the 
mill, and it will please him if you can give me one little 
hope ; it will make the house go on altogether better if 
you can think o' me.' 

' You are generous and good, John,' she said, as a 
big round tear bowled helter-skelter down her face and 

' I am not that ; I fear I am quite the opposite,' he 
said, without looking at her. ' It would be all gain to 
me But you have not answered my question.' 

She lifted her eyes. ' John, I cannot ! ' she said, 
with a cheerless smile. ' Positively I cannot. Will you 
make me a promise ? ' 

' What is it ? ' 

' I want you to promise first Yes, it is dreadfully 
unreasonable,' she added, in a mild distress. ' But do 
promise ! ' 

John by this time seemed to have a feeling that it 
was all up with him for the present. ' I promise,' he 
said listlessly. 

' It is that you won't speak to me about this for ever 
so long,' she returned, with emphatic kindliness. 


' Very good,' he replied ; ' very good. Dear Anne, 
you don't think I have been unmanly or unfair in start- 
ing this anew ? ' 

Anne looked into his face without a smile. 'You 
have been perfectly natural,' she murmured. ' And so 
I think have I.' 

John, mournfully : ' You will not avoid me for this, 
or be afraid of me ? I will not break my word. I will 
not worry you any more.' 

' Thank you, John. You need not have said worry ; 
it isn't that.' 

'Well, I am very blind and stupid. I have been 
hurting your heart all the time without knowing it. It 
is my fate, I suppose. Men who love women the very 
best always blunder and give more pain than those who 
love them less.' 

Anne laid one of her hands on the other as she 
softly replied, looking down at them, 'No one loves 
me as well as you, John ; nobody in the world is so 
worthy to be loved ; and yet I cannot anyhow love 
you rightly.' And lifting her eyes, ' But I do so feel 
for you that I will try as hard as I can to think 
about you.' 

' Well, that is something,' he said, smiling. * You 
say I must not speak about it again for ever so long ; 
how long ? ' 

' Now that's not fair,' Anne retorted, going down the 
garden, and leaving him alone. 

About a week passed. Then one afternoon the 
miller walked up to Anne indoors, a weighty topic being 
expressed in his tread. 

' I was so glad, my honey,' he began, with a knowing 
smile, ' to see that from the mill-window last week.' He 
flung a nod in the direction of the garden. 

Anne innocently inquired what it could be. 

' Jack and you in the garden together,' he continued, 
laying his hand gently on her shoulder and stroking it. 



' It would so please me, my dear little girl, if you could 
get to like him better than that weathercock, Master 

Anne shook her head ; not in forcible negation, but 
to imply a kind of neutrality. 

' Can't you ? Come now,' said the miller. 

She threw back her head with a little laugh of griev- 
ance. ' How you all beset me ! ' she expostulated. ' It 
makes me feel very wicked in not obeying you, and 
being faithful faithful to ' But she could not trust 
that side of the subject to words. ' Why would it please 
you so much ? ' she asked. 

'John is as steady and staunch a fellow as ever 
blowed a trumpet. I've always thought you might do 
better with him than with Bob. Now I've a plan for 
taking him into the mill, and letting him have a com- 
fortable time o't after his long knocking about; but 
so much depends upon you that I must bide a bit 
till I see what your pleasure is about the poor fellow. 
Mind, my dear, I don't want to force ye; I only just 
ask ye.' 

Anne meditatively regarded the miller from under 
her shady eyelids, the fingers of one hand playing a 
silent tattoo on her bosom. ' I don't know what to say 
to you,' she answered brusquely, and went away. 

But these discourses were not without their effect 
upon the extremely conscientious mind of Anne. They 
were, moreover, much helped by an incident which took 
place one evening in the autumn of this year, when John 
came to tea. Anne was sitting on a low stool in front 
of the fire, her hands clasped across her knee. John 
Loveday had just seated himself on a chair close behind 
her, and Mrs. Loveday was in the act of filling the tea- 
pot from the kettle which hung in the chimney exactly 
above Anne. The kettle slipped forward suddenly; 
whereupon John jumped from the chair and put his own 
two hands over Anne's just in time to shield them, and 


the precious knee she clasped, from the jet of scalding 
water which had directed itself upon that point. The 
accidental overflow was instantly checked by Mrs. Love- 
day ; but what had come was received by the devoted 
trumpet-major on the back of his hands. 

Anne, who had hardly been aware that he was 
behind her, started up like a person awakened from 
a trance. ' What have you done to yourself, poor 
John, to keep it off me ! ' she cried, looking at his 

John reddened emotionally at her words, 'It is a bit 
of a scald, that's all,' he replied, drawing a finger across 
the back of one hand, and bringing off the skin by the 

' You are scalded painfully, and I not at all ! ' She 
gazed into his kind face as she had never gazed there 
before, and when Mrs. Loveday came back with oil and 
other liniments for the wound Anne would let nobody 
dress it but herself. It seemed as if her coyness had all 
gone, and when she had done all that lay in her power 
she still sat by him. At his departure she said what 
she had never said to him in her life before : ' Come 
again soon ! ' 

In short, that impulsive act of devotion, the last of a 
series of the same tenor, had been the added drop which 
finally turned the wheel. John's character deeply im- 
pressed her. His determined steadfastness to his lode- 
star won her admiration, the more especially as that star 
was herself. She began to wonder more and more how 
she could have so persistently held out against his 
advances before Bob came home to renew girlish memo- 
ries which had by that time got considerably weakened. 
Could she not, after all, please the miller, and try to 
listen to John ? By so doing she would make a worthy 
man happy, the only sacrifice being at worst that of her 
unworthy self, whose future was no longer valuable. 
' As for Bob, the woman is to be pitied who loves him,' 



she reflected indignantly, and persuaded herself that, 
whoever the woman might be, she was not Anne 

After this there was something of recklessness and 
something of pleasantry in the young girl's manner of 
making herself an example of the triumph of pride and 
common sense over memory and sentiment. Her 
attitude had been epitomized in her defiant singing at 
the time she learnt that Bob was not leal and true. 
John, as was inevitable, came again almost immediately, 
drawn thither by the sun of her first smile on him, and 
the words which had accompanied it. And now instead 
of going off to her little pursuits upstairs, downstairs, 
across the room, in the corner, or to any place except 
where he happened to be, as had been her custom 
hitherto, she remained seated near him, returning in- 
teresting answers to his general remarks, and at every 
opportunity letting him know that at last he had found 
favour in her eyes. 

The day was fine, and they went out of doors, where 
Anne endeavoured to seat herself on the sloping stone 
of the window-sill. 

' How good you have become lately,' said John, 
standing over her and smiling in the sunlight which 
blazed against the wall. ' I fancy you have stayed at 
home this afternoon on my account.' 

< Perhaps I have,' she said gaily - 

' " Do whatever we may for him, dame, we cannot do too much ! 
For he's one that has guarded our land." 

And he has done more than that : he has saved me 
from a dreadful scalding. The back of your hand will 
not be well for a long time, John, will it ? ' 

He held out his hand to regard its condition, and 
the next natural thing was to take hers. There was 
a glow upon his face when he did it : his star was at 


last on a fair way towards the zenith after its long 
and weary declination. The least penetrating eye 
could have perceived that Anne had resolved to let 
him woo, possibly in her temerity to let him win. 
Whatever silent sorrow might be locked up in her, 
it was by this time thrust a long way down from the 

'I want you to go somewhere with me if you will,' he 
said, still holding her hand. 
* . . ' Yes ? Where is it ? ' 

; He pointed to a distant hill-side which, hitherto 
green, had within the last few days begun to show 
scratches of white on its face. ' Up there,' he said. 

' I see little figures of men moving about. What are 
they doing ?' 

' Cutting out a huge picture of the king on horseback 
in the earth of the hill. The king's head is to be as 
big as our mill-pond and his body as big as this garden ; 
he and the horse will cover more than an acre. When 
shall we go ? ' 

' Whenever you please,' said she. 

' John ! ' cried Mrs. Loveday from the front door. 
' Here's a friend come for you.' 

John went round, and found his trusty lieutenant, 
Trumpeter Buck, waiting for him. A letter had come 
to the barracks for John in his absence, and the 
trumpeter, who was going for a walk, had brought it 
along with him. Buck then entered the mill to dis- 
cuss, if possible, a mug of last year's mead with the 
miller; and John proceeded to read his letter, Anne 
being still round the corner where he had left her. 
When he had read a few words he turned as pale as 
a sheet, but he did not move, and perused the writing 
to the end. 

Afterwards he laid his elbow against the wall, and 
put his palm to his head, thinking with painful intent- 
ness. Then he took himself vigorously in hand, as it 


were, and gradually became natural again. When he 
parted from Anne to go home with Buck she noticed 
nothing different in him. 

In barracks that evening he read the letter again. 
It was from Bob; and the agitating contents were 
these : 

'DEAR JOHN, I have drifted off from writing till the present 
time because I have not been clear about my feelings ; but I have 
discovered them at last, and can say beyond doubt that I mean to 
be faithful to my dearest Anne after all. The fact is, John, I've 
got into a bit of a scrape, and I've a secret to tell you about it 
(which must go no further on any account). On landing last 
autumn I fell in with a young woman, and we got rather warm as 
folks do ; in short, we liked one another well enough for a while. 
But I have got into shoal water with her, and have found her to be 
a terrible take-in. Nothing in her at all no sense, no niceness, all 
tantrums and empty noise, John, though she seemed monstrous 
clever at first. So my heart comes back to its old anchorage. I 
hope my return to faithfulness will make no difference to you. But 
as you showed by your looks at our parting that you should not 
accept my offer to give her up made in too much haste, as I have 
since found I feel that you won't mind that I have returned to the 
path of honour. I dare not write to Anne as yet, and please do not 
let her know a word about the other young woman, or there will be 
the devil to pay. I shall come home and make all things right, 
please God. In the meantime I should take it as a kindness, John, 
if you would keep a brotherly eye upon Anne, and guide her mind 
back to me. I shall die of sorrow if anybody sets her against 
me, for my hopes are getting bound up in her again quite strong. 
Hoping you are jovial, as times go, I am, Your affectionate 
brother, ROBERT.' 

When the cold daylight fell upon John's face, as he 
dressed himself next morning, the incipient yesterday's 
wrinkle in his forehead had become permanently graven 
there. He had resolved, for the sake of that only 
brother whom he had nursed as a baby, instructed as a 
child, and protected and loved always, to pause in his 
procedure for the present, and at least do nothing to 


hinder Bob's restoration to favour, if a genuine, even 
though temporarily smothered, love for Anne should 
still hold possession of him. But having arranged to 
take her to see the excavated figure of the king, he 
started for Overcombe during the day, as if nothing had 
occurred to check the smooth course of his love. 




1 AM ready to go,' said Anne, as soon as he arrived. 

He paused as if taken aback by her readiness, and 
replied with much uncertainty, 'Would it wouldn't it 
be better to put it off till there is less sun ? ' 

The very slightest symptom of surprise arose in her 
as she rejoined, ' But the weather may change ; or had 
we better not go at all ? ' 

' O no ! it was only a thought. We will start at 

And along the vale they went, John keeping himself 
about a yard from her right hand. When the third field 
had been crossed they came upon half-a-dozen little boys 
at play. 

' Why don't he clasp her to his side, like a man ? ' 
said the biggest and rudest boy. 

' Why don't he clasp her to his side, like a man ? ' 
echoed all the rude smaller boys in a chorus. 

The trumpet-major turned, and, after some running, 
succeeded in smacking two of them with his switch, 
returning to Anne breathless. ' I am ashamed they 
should have insulted you so,' he said, blushing for 



'They said no harm, poor boys,' she replied re- 

Poor John was dumb with perception. The gentle 
hint upon which he would have eagerly spoken only one 
short day ago was now like fire to his wound. 

They presently came to some stepping-stones across 
a brook. John crossed first without turning his head, 
and Anne, just lifting the skirt of her dress, crossed 
behind him. When they had reached the other side a 
village girl and a young shepherd approached the brink 
to cross. Anne stopped and watched them. The 
shepherd took a hand of the young girl in each of his 
own, and walked backward over the stones, facing her, 
and keeping her upright by his grasp, both of them 
laughing as they went. 

' What are you staying for, Miss Garland?' asked John. 

' I was only thinking how happy they are,' she said 
quietly ; and withdrawing her eyes from the tender pair, 
she turned and followed him, not knowing that the 
seeming sound of a passing bumble-bee was a suppressed 
groan from John. 

When they reached the hill they found forty navvies 
at work removing the dark sod so as to lay bare the 
chalk beneath. The equestrian figure that their shovels 
were forming was scarcely intelligible to John and Anne 
now they were close, and after pacing from the horse's 
head down his breast to his hoof, back by way of the 
king's bridle-arm, past the bridge of his nose, and into 
his cocked-hat, Anne said that she had had enough of 
it, and stepped out of the chalk clearing upon the 
grass. The trumpet-major had remained all the time in 
a melancholy attitude within the rowel of his Majesty's 
right spur. 

' My shoes are caked with chalk,' she said as they 
walked downwards again; and she drew back her 
dress to look at them. 'How can I get some of it 
cleared off?' 

35 1 


' If you was to wipe them in the long grass there,' 
said John, pointing to a spot where the blades were 
rank and dense, ' some of it would come off.' Having 
said this, he walked on with religious firmness. 

Anne raked her little feet on the right side, on the 
left side, over the toe, and behind the heel; but the 
tenacious chalk held its own. Panting with her exer- 
tion, she gave it up, and at length overtook him. 

' I hope it is right now ? ' he said, looking gingerly 
over his shoulder. 

' No, indeed ! ' said she. ' I wanted some assistance 
some one to steady me. It is so hard to stand on 
one foot and wipe the other without support. I was 
in danger of toppling over, and so gave it up.' 

' Merciful stars, what an opportunity ! ' thought the 
poor fellow while she waited for him to offer help. But 
his lips remained closed, and she went on with a 
pouting smile 

' You seem in such a hurry ! Why are you in such 
a hurry ? After all the fine things you have said about 
about caring so much for me, and all that, you won't 
stop for anything ! ' 

It was too much for John. ' Upon my heart and 
life, my dea ' he began. Here Bob's letter crackled 
warningly in his waistcoat pocket as he laid his hand 
asseveratingly upon his breast, and he became suddenly 
sealed up to dumbness and gloom as before. 

When they reached home Anne sank upon a stool 
outside the door, fatigued with her excursion. Her 
first act was to try to pull off her shoe it was a diffi- 
cult matter ; but John stood beating with his switch the 
leaves of the creeper on the wall. 

' Mother David Molly, or somebody do come 
and help me pull off these dirty shoes ! ' she cried aloud 
at last. ' Nobody helps me in anything ! ' 

{ I am very sorry,' said John, coming towards her with 
incredible slowness and an air of unutterable depression. 


' O, I can do without you. David is best,' she re- 
turned, as the old man approached and removed the 
obnoxious shoes in a trice. 

Anne was amazed at this sudden change from de- 
votion to crass indifference. On entering her room she 
flew to the glass, almost expecting to learn that some 
extraordinary change had come over her pretty counte- 
nance, rendering her intolerable for evermore. But it 
was, if anything, fresher than usual, on account of the 
exercise. ' Well ! ' she said retrospectively. For the 
first time since their acquaintance she had this week 
encouraged him ; and for the first time he had shown 
that encouragement was useless. ' But perhaps he does 
not clearly understand,' she added serenely. 

When he next came it was, to her surprise, to bring 
her newspapers, now for some time discontinued. As 
soon as she saw them she said, ' I do not care for news- 

' The shipping news is very full and long to-day, 
though the print is rather small.' 

' I take no further interest in the shipping news,' she 
replied with cold dignity. 

She was sitting by the window, inside the table, and 
hence when, in spite of her negations, he deliberately 
unfolded the paper and began to read about the Royal 
Navy she could hardly rise and go away. With a stoical 
mien he read on to the end of the report, bringing out 
the name of Bob's ship with tremendous force. 

' No,' she said at last, ' I'll hear no more ! Let me 
read to you.' 

The trumpet-major sat down. Anne turned to the 
military news, delivering every detail with much appa- 
rent enthusiasm. ' That's the subject / like ! ' she said 

' But but Bob is in the navy now, and will most 
likely rise to be an officer. And then ' 

'What is there like the army?' she interrupted. 
353 z 


'There is no smartness about sailors." They waddle 
like ducks, and they only fight stupid battles that no 
one can form any idea of. There is no science nor 
stratagem in sea-fights nothing more than what you 
see when two rams run their heads together in a field 
to knock each other down. But in military battles 
there is such art, and such splendour, and the men are 
so smart, particularly the horse-soldiers. O, I shall never 
forget what gallant men you all seemed when you came 
and pitched your tents on the downs ! I like the 
cavalry better than anything I know ; and the dragoons 
the best of the cavalry and the trumpeters the best of 
the dragoons ! ' 

' O, if it had but come a little sooner ! ' moaned 
John within him. He replied as soon as he could 
regain self-command, ' I am glad Bob is in the navy at 
last he is so much more fitted for that than the 
merchant-service so brave by nature, ready for any 
daring deed. I have heard ever so much more about 
his doings on board the Victory, Captain Hardy took 
special notice that when he ' 

'I don't want to know anything more about it,' 
said Anne impatiently ; ' of course sailors fight ; there's 
nothing else to do in a ship, since you can't run away ! 
You may as well fight and be killed as be killed not 

' Still it is his character to be careless of himself 
where the honour of his country is concerned,' John 
pleaded. ' If you had only known him as a boy you 
would own it. He would always risk his own life to 
save anybody else's. Once when a cottage was afire 
up the lane he rushed in for a baby, although he was 
only a boy himself, and he had the narrowest escape. 
We have got his hat now with the hole burnt in it. 
Shall I get it and show it to you ? ' 

''No I don't wish it. It has nothing to do with 
me.' But as he persisted in his course towards the 


door, she added, ' Ah ! you are leaving because I 
am in your way. You want to be alone while you 
read the paper I will go at once. I did not see 
that I was interrupting you.' And she rose as if to 

' No, no ! I would rather be interrupted by you 
than O, Miss Garland, excuse me ! I'll just speak 
to father in the mill, now I am here.' 

It is scarcely necessary to state that Anne (whose 
unquestionable gentility amid somewhat homely sur- 
roundings has been many times insisted on in the 
course of this history) was usually the reverse of a 
woman with a coming-on disposition ; but, whether 
from pique at his manner, or from wilful adherence to 
a course rashly resolved on, or from coquettish mali- 
ciousness in reaction from long depression, or from 
any other thing, so it was that she would not let 
him go. 

' Trumpet-major,' she said, recalling him. 

' Yes ? ' he replied timidly. 

' The bow of my cap-ribbon has come untied, has 
it not?' She turned and fixed her bewitching glance 
upon him. 

The bow was just over her forehead, or, more pre- 
cisely, at the point where the organ of comparison 
merges in that of benevolence, according to the phreno- 
logical theory of Gall. John, thus brought to, endea- 
voured to look at the bow in a skimming, duck-and- 
drake fashion, so as to avoid dipping his own glance 
as far as to the plane of his interrogator's eyes. ' It 
is untied,' he said, drawing back a little. 

She came nearer, and asked, ' Will you tie it for me, 
please ? ' 

As there was no help for it, he nerved himself and 

assented. As her head only reached to his fourth 

button she necessarily looked up for his convenience, 

and John began fumbling at the bow. Try as he would, 



it was impossible to touch the ribbon without getting 
his finger tips mixed with the curls of her forehead. 

' Your hand shakes ah ! you have been walking 
fast,' she said. 

' Yes yes.' 

Have you almost done it ? ' She inquiringly 
directed her gaze upward through his fingers. 

< No not yet,' he faltered in a warm sweat of 
emotion, his heart going like a flail. 

' Then be quick, please.' 

' Yes, I will, Miss Garland ! B B Bob is a very 
good fel ' 

' Not that man's name to me ! ' she interrupted. 

John was silent instantly, and nothing was to be 
heard but the rustling of the ribbon ; till his hands once 
more blundered among the curls, and then touched her 

' O good God ! ' ejaculated the trumpet-major in a 
whisper, turning away hastily to the corner-cupboard, 
and resting his face upon his hand. 

' What's the matter, John ? ' said she. 

' I can't do it ! ' 


' Tie your cap-ribbon.' 

' Why not ? ' 

* Because you are so Because I am clumsy, and 
never could tie a bow.' 

' You are clumsy indeed,' answered Anne, and went 

After this she felt injured, for it seemed to show that 
he rated her happiness as of meaner value than Bob's ; 
since he had persisted in his idea of giving Bob another 
chance when she had implied that it was her wish to do 
otherwise. Could Miss Johnson have anything to do 
with his firmness ? An opportunity of testing him in 
this direction occurred some days later. She had been 
up the village, and met John at the mill-door. 


' Have you heard the news ? Matilda Johnson is 
going to be married to young Derriman.' 

Anne stood with her back to the sun, and as he 
faced her, his features were searchingly exhibited. There 
was no change whatever in them, unless it were that a 
certain light of interest kindled by her question turned 
to complete and blank indifference. ' Well, as times go, 
it is not a bad match for her,' he said, with a phlegm 
which was hardly that of a lover. 

John on his part was beginning to find these tempta- 
tions almost more than he could bear. But being 
quartered so near to his father's house it was unnatural 
not to visit him, especially when at any moment the 
regiment might be ordered abroad, and a separation of 
years ensue ; and as long as he went there he could not 
help seeing her. 

The year changed from green to gold, and from gold 
to grey, but little change came over the house of Love- 
day. During the last twelve months Bob had been 
occasionally heard of as upholding his country's honour 
in Denmark, the West Indies, Gibraltar, Malta, and 
other places about the globe, till the family received a 
short letter stating that he had arrived again at Ports- 
mouth. At Portsmouth Bob seemed disposed to 
remain, for though some time elapsed without further 
intelligence, the gallant seaman never appeared at Over- 
combe. Then on a sudden John learnt that Bob's long- 
talked-of promotion for signal services rendered was to 
be an accomplished fact. The trumpet-major at once 
walked off to Overcombe, and reached the village in 
the early afternoon. Not one of the family was in the 
house at the moment, and John strolled onwards over 
the hill towards Casterbridge, without much thought of 
direction till, lifting his eyes, he beheld Anne Garland 
wandering about with a little basket upon her arm. 

At first John blushed with delight at the sweet 
vision ; but, recalled by his conscience, the blush of 


delight was at once mangled and slain. He looked for 
a means of retreat. But the field was open, and a 
soldier was a conspicuous object : there was no escap- 
ing her. 

' It was kind of you to come,' she said, with an inviting 

' It was quite by accident,' he answered, with an 
indifferent laugh. ' I thought you was at home.' 

Anne blushed and said nothing, and they rambled on 
together. In the middle of the field rose a fragment of 
stone wall in the form of a gable, known as Faringdon 
Ruin ; and when they had reached it John paused and 
politely asked her if she were not a little tired with walk- 
ing so far. No particular reply was returned by the 
young lady, but they both stopped, and Anne seated 
herself on a stone, which had fallen from the ruin to 
the ground. 

'A church once stood here,' observed John in a 
matter-of-fact tone. 

' Yes, I have often shaped it out in my mind,' she 
returned. ' Here where I sit must have been the altar.' 

' True this standing bit of wall was the chancel end.' 

Anne had been adding up her little studies of the 
trumpet-major's character, and was surprised to find how 
the brightness of that character increased in her eyes with 
each examination. A kindly and gentle sensation was 
again aroused in her. Here was a neglected heroic man, 
who, loving her to distraction, deliberately doomed him- 
self to pensive shade to avoid even the appearance of 
standing in a brother's way. 

' If the altar stood here, hundreds of people have been 
made man and wife just there, in past times,' she said, 
with calm deliberateness, throwing a little stone on a 
spot about a yard westward. 

John annihilated another tender burst and replied, 
'Yes, this field used to be a village. My grandfather 
could call to mind when there were houses here. But 


the squire pulled 'em down, because poor folk were an 
eyesore to him.' 

' Do you know, John, what you once asked me to 
do ? ' she continued, not accepting the digression, and 
turning her eyes upon him. 

' In what sort of way ? ' 

' In the matter of my future life, and yours.' 

' I am afraid I don't.' 

' John Loveday ! ' 

He turned his back upon her for a moment, that she 
might not see his face. ' Ah ! I do remember,' he 
said at last, in a dry, small, repressed voice. 

' Well need I say more ? Isn't it sufficient ? ' 

{ It would be sufficient,' answered the unhappy man. 
' But ' 

She looked up with a reproachful smile, and shook 
her head. ' That summer,' she went on, ' you asked me 
ten times if you asked me once. I am older now ; much 
more of a woman, you know ; and my opinion is changed 
about some people ; especially about one.' 

' O Anne, Anne ! ' he burst out as, racked between 
honour and desire, he snatched up her hand. The next 
moment it fell heavily to her lap. He had absolutely 
relinquished it half-way to his lips. 

' I have been thinking lately,' he said, with preter- 
naturally sudden calmness, 'that men of the military 
profession ought not to m ought to be like St. Paul, 
I mean.' 

' Fie, John ; pretending religion ! ' she said sternly. 
' It isn't that at all. Its Bob ! ' 

' Yes ! ' cried the miserable trumpet-major. c I have 
had a letter from him to-day.' He pulled out a sheet of 
paper from his breast. ' That's it ! He's promoted 
he's a lieutenant, and appointed to a sloop that only 
cruises on our own coast, so that he'll be at home on 
leave half his time he'll be a gentleman some day, and 
worthy of you ! ' 



He threw the letter into her lap, and drew back to 
the other side of the gable- wall. Anne jumped up from 
her seat, flung away the letter without looking at it, and 
went hastily on. John did not attempt to overtake her. 
Picking up the letter, he followed in her wake at a 
distance of a hundred yards. 

But, though Anne had withdrawn from his presence 
thus precipitately, she never thought more highly of him 
in her life than she did five minutes afterwards, when 
the excitement of the moment had passed. She saw it 
all quite clearly; and his self-sacrifice impressed her so 
much that the effect was just the reverse of what he had 
been aiming to produce. The more he pleaded for 
Bob, the more her perverse generosity pleaded for John. 
To-day the crisis had come with what results she had 
not foreseen. 

As soon as the trumpet-major reached the nearest 
pen-and-ink he flung himself into a seat and wrote wildly 
to Bob : 

' DEAR ROBERT, I write these few lines to let you know that if 

you want Anne Garland you must come at once you must come 

instantly, and post-haste or she will be gone I Somebody else wants 

her, and she wants him ! It is your last chance, in the opinion of 

' Your faithful brother and well-wisher, 


' P-S. Glad to hear of your promotion. Tell me the day and 
I'll meet the coach.' 





ONE night, about a week later, two men were walking 
in the dark along the turnpike road towards Overcombe, 
one of them with a bag in his hand. 

' Now,' said the taller of the two, the squareness of 
whose shoulders signified that he wore epaulettes, ' now 
you must do the best you can for yourself, Bob. I have 
done all I can ; but th'hast thy work cut out, I can tell 

' I wouldn't have run such a risk for the world,' said 
the other, in a tone of ingenuous contrition. 'But 
thou'st see, Jack, I didn't think there was any danger, 
knowing you was taking care of her, and keeping my 
place warm for me. I didn't hurry myself, that's true ; 
but, thinks I, if I get this promotion I am promised I 
shall naturally have leave, and then I'll go and see 'em 
all. Gad, I shouldn't have been here now but for your 
letter ! ' 

'You little think what risks you've run,' said his 
brother. ' However, try to make up for lost time.' 

' All right. And whatever you do, Jack, don't say a 
word about this other girl. Hang the girl ! I was a 
great fool, I know ; still, it is over now, and I am come 


to my senses. I suppose Anne never caught a capful 
of wind from that quarter ? ' 

' She knows all about it,' said John seriously. 

' Knows ? By George, then, I'm ruined ! ' said Bob, 
standing stock-still in the road as if he meant to re- 
main there all night. 

' That's what I meant by saying it would be a hard 
battle for 'ee,' returned John, with the same quietness 
as before. 

Bob sighed and moved on. ' I don't deserve that 
woman ! ' he cried passionately, thumping his three 
upper ribs with his fist. 

' I've thought as much myself,' observed John, with 
a dryness which was almost bitter. ' But it depends 
on how thou'st behave in future.' 

' John,' said Bob, taking his brother's hand, ' I'll be 
a new man. I solemnly swear by that eternal milestone 
staring at me there that I'll never look at another 
woman with the thought of marrying her whilst that 
darling is free no, not if she be a mermaiden of light ! 
It's a lucky thing that I'm slipped in on the quarter- 
deck ! it may help me with her hey ? ' 

' It may with her mother ; I don't think it will 
make much difference with Anne. Still, it is a good 
thing ; and I hope that some day you'll command a 
big ship.' 

Bob shook his head. ' Officers are scarce ; but I'm 
afraid my luck won't carry me so far as that.' 

' Did she ever tell you that she mentioned your name 
to the King ? ' 

The seaman stood still again. ' Never ! ' he said. 
' How did such a thing as that happen, in Heaven's 
name ? ' 

John described in detail, and they walked on, lost 
in conjecture. 

As soon as they entered the house the returned 
officer of the navy was welcomed with acclamation by 


his father and David, with mild approval by Mrs. Love- 
day, and by Anne not at all that discreet maiden 
having carefully retired to her own room some time 
earlier in the evening. Bob did not dare to ask for 
her in any positive manner ; he just inquired about her 
health, and that was all. 

' Why, what's the matter with thy face, my son ? ' 
said the miller, staring. ' David, show a light here.' 
And a candle was thrust against Bob's cheek, where 
there appeared a jagged streak like the geological re- 
mains of a lobster. 

' O that's where that rascally Frenchman's grenade 
busted and hit me from the Redoubtable, you know, as 
I told 'ee in my letter.' 

' Not a word ! ' 

' What, didn't I tell 'ee ? Ah, no ; I meant to, but 
I forgot it.' 

' And here's a sort of dint in yer forehead too ; what 
do that mean, my dear boy ? ' said the miller, putting 
his finger in a chasm in Bob's skull. 

' That was done in the Indies. Yes, that was rather 
a troublesome chop a cutlass did it. I should have 
told 'ee, but I found 'twould make my letter so long 
that I put it off, and put it off; and at last thought it 
wasn't worth while.' 

John soon rose to take his departure. 

' It's all up with me and her, you see,' said Bob 
to him outside the door. ' She's not even going to 
see me.' 

1 Wait a little,' said the trumpet-major. 

It was easy enough on the night of the arrival, in 
the midst of excitement, when blood was warm, for 
Anne to be resolute in her avoidance of Bob Loveday. 
But in the morning determination is apt to grow in- 
vertebrate ; rules of pugnacity are less easily acted up 
to, and a feeling of live and let live takes possession 
of the gentle soul. Anne had not meant even to sit 
3 6 3 


down to the same breakfast-table with Bob ; but when 
the rest were assembled, and had got some way through 
the substantial repast which was served at this hour in 
the miller's house, Anne entered. She came silently 
as a phantom, her eyes cast down, her cheeks pale. It 
was a good long walk from the door to the table, and 
Bob made a full inspection of her as she came up to 
a chair at the remotest corner, in the direct rays of the 
morning light, where she dumbly sat herself down. 

It was altogether different from how she had ex- 
pected. Here was she, who had done nothing, feeling 
all the embarrassment; and Bob, who had done the 
wrong, feeling apparently quite at ease. 

' You'll speak to Bob, won't you, honey ? ' said the 
miller after a silence. To meet Bob like this after an 
absence seemed irregular in his eyes. 

'If he wish me to,' she replied, so addressing the 
miller that no part, scrap, or outlying beam whatever of 
her glance passed near the subject of her remark. 

' He's a lieutenant, you know, dear,' said her mother 
on the same side ; ' and he's been dreadfully wounded.' 

' Oh ? ' said Anne, turning a little towards the false 
one ; at which Bob felt it to be time for him to put in a 
spoke for himself. 

' I am glad to see you,' he said contritely ; ' and how 
do you do ? ' 

' Very well, thank you.' 

He extended his hand. She allowed him to take 
hers, but only to the extent of a niggardly inch or so. 
At the same moment she glanced up at him, when their 
eyes met, and hers were again withdrawn. 

The hitch between the two younger members of the 
household tended to make the breakfast a dull one. 
Bob was so depressed by her unforgiving manner that 
he could not throw that sparkle into his stories which 
their substance naturally required ; and when the meal 
was over, and they went about their different businesses, 
3 6 4 


the pair resembled the two Dromios in seldom or never 
being, thanks to Anne's subtle contrivances, both in the 
same room at the same time. 

This kind of performance repeated itself during 
several days. At last, after dogging her hither and 
thither, leaning with a wrinkled forehead against door- 
posts, taking an oblique view into the room where she 
happened to be, picking up worsted balls and getting 
no thanks, placing a splinter from the Victory, several 
bullets from the Redoubtable, a strip of the flag, and 
other interesting relics, carefully labelled, upon her table, 
and hearing no more about them than if they had been 
pebbles from the nearest brook, he hit upon a new plan. 
To avoid him she frequently sat upstairs in a window 
overlooking the garden. Lieutenant Loveday carefully 
dressed himself in a new uniform, which he had caused 
to be sent some days before, to dazzle admiring friends, 
but which he had never as yet put on in public or 
mentioned to a soul. When arrayed he entered the 
sunny garden, and there walked slowly up and down as 
he had seen Nelson and Captain Hardy do on the 
quarter-deck ; but keeping his right shoulder, on which 
his one epaulette was fixed, as much towards Anne's 
window as possible. 

But she made no sign, though there was not the least 
question that she saw him. At the end of half-an-hour 
he went in, took off his clothes, and gave himself up to 
doubt and the best tobacco. 

He repeated the programme on the next afternoon, and 
on the next, never saying a word within doors about his 
doings or his notice. 

Meanwhile the results in Anne's chamber were not 
uninteresting. She had been looking out on the first 
day, and was duly amazed to see a naval officer in full 
uniform promenading in the path. Finding it to be Bob, 
she left the window with a sense that the scene was not 
for her; then, from mere curiosity, peeped out from 


behind the curtain. Well, he was a pretty spectacle, 
she admitted, relieved as his figure was by a dense mass 
of sunny, close-trimmed hedge, over which nasturtiums 
climbed in wild luxuriance ; and if she could care for him 
one bit, which she couldn't, his form would have been a 
delightful study, surpassing in interest even its splendour 
on the memorable day of their visit to the town theatre. 
She called her mother ; Mrs. Loveday came promptly. 

' O, it is nothing,' said Anne indifferently ; ' only that 
Bob has got his uniform.' 

Mrs. Loveday peeped out, and raised her hands with 
delight. ' And he has not said a word to us about it ! 
What a lovely epaulette ! I must call his father.' 

1 No, indeed. As I take no interest in him I shall 
not let people come into my room to admire him.' 

' Well, you called me,' said her mother. 

' It was because I thought you liked fine clothes. It 
is what I don't care for.' 

Notwithstanding this assertion she again looked out 
at Bob the next afternoon when his footsteps rustled on 
the gravel, and studied his appearance under all the vary- 
ing angles of the sunlight, as if fine clothes and uniforms 
were not altogether a matter of indifference. He cer- 
tainly was a splendid, gentlemanly, and gallant sailor from 
end to end of him ; but then, what were a dashing pre- 
sentment, a naval rank, and telling scars, if a man was 
fickle-hearted ? However, she peeped on till the fourth 
day, and then she did not peep. The window was open, 
she looked right out, and Bob knew that he had got a 
rise to his bait at last. He touched his hat to her, keep- 
ing his right shoulder forwards, and said, ' Good-day, Miss 
Garland,' with a smile. 

Anne replied, ' Good-day,' with funereal seriousness ; 
and the acquaintance thus revived led to the interchange 
of a few words at supper-time, at which Mrs. Loveday 
nodded with satisfaction. But Anne took especial care 
that he should never meet her alone, and to insure this 


her ingenuity was in constant exercise. There were so 
many nooks and windings on the miller's rambling pre- 
mises that she could never be sure he would not turn up 
within a foot of her, particularly as his thin shoes were 
almost noiseless. 

One fine afternoon she accompanied Molly in search 
of elderberries for making the family wine which was 
drunk by Mrs. Loveday, Anne, and anybody who could 
not stand the rougher and stronger liquors provided by 
the miller. After walking rather a long distance over the 
down they came to a grassy hollow, where elder-bushes 
in knots of twos and threes rose from an uneven bank 
and hung their heads towards the south, black and heavy 
with bunches of fruit. The charm of fruit-gathering to 
girls is enhanced in the case of elderberries by the in- 
offensive softness of the leaves, boughs, and bark, which 
makes getting into the branches easy and pleasant to 
the most indifferent climbers. Anne and Molly had 
soon gathered a basketful, and sending the servant home 
with it, Anne remained in the bush picking and throw- 
ing down bunch by bunch upon the grass. She was so 
absorbed in her occupation of pulling the twigs towards 
her, and the rustling of their leaves so filled her ears,, 
that it was a great surprise when, on turning her head, 
she perceived a similar movement to her own among 
the boughs of the adjoining bush. 

At first she thought they were disturbed by being 
partly in contact with the boughs of her bush ; but in a 
moment Robert Loveday's face peered from them, at a 
distance of about a yard from her own. Anne uttered 
a little indignant ' Well ! ' recovered herself, and went 
on plucking. Bob thereupon went on plucking likewise. 

' I am picking elderberries for your mother,' said the 
lieutenant at last, humbly. 

So I see.' 

'And I happen to have come to the next bush to 



' So I see ; but not the reason why.' 

Anne was now in the westernmost branches of the 
bush, and Bob had leant across into the eastern branches 
of his. In gathering he swayed towards her, back again, 
forward again. 

' I beg pardon,' he said, when a further swing than 
usual had taken him almost in contact with her. 

' Then why do you do it ? ' 

' The wind rocks the bough, and the bough rocks me.' 
She expressed by a look her opinion of this statement in 
the face of the gentlest breeze ; and Bob pursued : ' I 
am afraid the berries will stain your pretty hands.' 

' I wear gloves.' 

'Ah, that's a plan I should never have thought of. 
Can I help you ? ' 

' Not at all.' 

' You are offended : that's what that means.' 

' No,' she said. 

' Then will you shake hands ? ' 

Anne hesitated ; then slowly stretched out her hand, 
which he took at once. ' That will do,' she said, find- 
ing that he did not relinquish it immediately. But as 
he still held it, she pulled, the effect of which was to 
draw Bob's swaying person, bough and all, towards her, 
and herself towards him. 

'I am afraid to let go your hand,' said that officer; 
'for if I do your spar will fly back, and you will be 
thrown upon the deck with great violence.' 

' I wish you to let me go ! ' 

He accordingly did, and she flew back, but did not 
by any means fall. 

' It reminds me of the times when I used to be aloft 
clinging to a yard not much bigger than this tree-stem, 
in the mid- Atlantic, and thinking about you. I could 
see you in my fancy as plain as I see you now.' 

c Me, or some other woman ! ' retorted Anne 



' No ! ' declared Bob, shaking the bush for emphasis. 
' I'll protest that I did not think of anybody but you 
all the time we were dropping down channel, all the 
time we were off Cadiz, all the time through battles and 
bombardments. I seemed to see you in the smoke, and, 
thinks I, if I go to Davy's locker, what will she do ? ' 

'You didn't think that when you landed after 

' Well, now,' said the lieutenant in a reasoning tone ; 
' that was a curious thing. You'll hardly believe it, 
maybe ; but when a man is away from the woman he 
loves best in the port world, I mean he can have a 
sort of temporary feeling for another without disturbing 
the old one, which flows along under the same as ever.' 

' I can't believe it, and won't,' said Anne firmly. 

Molly now appeared with the empty basket, and 
when it had been filled from the heap on the grass, 
Anne went home with her, bidding Loveday a frigid 

The same evening, when Bob was absent, the miller 
proposed that they should all three go to an upper 
window of the house, to get a distant view of some 
rockets and illuminations which were to be exhibited in 
the town and harbour in honour of the King, who had 
returned this year as usual. They accordingly went 
upstairs to an empty attic, placed chairs against the 
window, and put out the light, Anne sitting in the 
middle, her mother close by, and the miller behind, 
smoking. No sign of any pyrotechnic display was 
visible over the port as yet, and Mrs. Loveday passed 
the time by talking to the miller, who replied in mono- 
syllables. While this was going on Anne fancied that 
she heard some one approach, and presently felt sure 
that Bob was drawing near her in the surrounding 
darkness ; but as the other two had noticed nothing she 
said not a word. 

All at once the swarthy expanse of southward sky 
369 2 A 


was broken by the blaze of several rockets simultane- 
ously ascending from different ships in the roads. At 
the very same moment a warm mysterious hand slipped 
round her own, and gave it a gentle squeeze. 

' O dear ! ' said Anne, with a sudden start away. 

' How nervous you are, child, to be startled by fire- 
works so far off,' said Mrs. Loveday. 

' I never saw rockets before,' murmured Anne, re- 
covering from her surprise. 

Mrs. Loveday presently spoke again. ' I wonder 
what has become of Bob ? ' 

Anne did not reply, being much exercised in trying 
to get her hand away from the one that imprisoned it ; 
and whatever the miller thought he kept to himself, 
because it disturbed his smoking to speak. 

Another batch of rockets went up. ' O I never ! ' 
said Anne, in a half-suppressed tone, springing in her 
chair. A second hand had with the rise of the rockets 
leapt round her waist. 

' Poor girl, you certainly must have change of scene 
at this rate,' said Mrs. Loveday. 

' I suppose I must,' murmured the dutiful daughter. 

For some minutes nothing further occurred to disturb 
Anne's serenity. Then a slow, quiet 'a-hem' came 
from the obscurity of the apartment. 

'What, Bob? How long have you been there?' 
inquired Mrs. Loveday. 

' Not long,' said the lieutenant coolly. ' I heard you 
were all here, and crept up quietly, not to disturb ye.' 

' Why don't you wear heels to your shoes like Chris- 
tian people, and not creep about so like a cat ? ' 

* Well, it keeps your floors clean to go slip-shod.' 

' That's true.' 

Meanwhile Anne was gently but firmly trying to pull 

Bob's arm from her waist, her distressful difficulty being 

that in freeing her waist she enslaved her hand, and in 

getting her hand free she enslaved her waist. Finding 



the struggle a futile one, owing to the invisibility of her 
antagonist, and her wish to keep its nature secret from 
the other two, she arose, and saying that she did not 
care to see any more, felt her way downstairs. Bob 
followed, leaving Loveday and his wife to themselves. 

' Dear Anne,' he began, when he had got down, and 
saw her in the candle-light of the large room. But she 
adroitly passed out at the other door, at which he took 
a candle and followed her to the small room. ' Dear 
Anne, do let me speak,' he repeated, as soon as the rays 
revealed her figure. But she passed into the bakehouse 
before he could say more; whereupon he perseveringly 
did the same. Looking round for her here he perceived 
her at the end of the room, where there were no means 
of exit whatever. 

' Dear Anne,' he began again, setting down the 
candle, ' you must try to forgive me ; really you must. 
I love you the best of anybody in the wide, wide world. 
Try to forgive me ; come ! ' And he imploringly took 
her hand. 

Anne's bosom began to surge and fall like a small 
tide, her eyes remaining fixed upon the floor ; till, when 
Loveday ventured to draw her slightly towards him, she 
burst out crying. ' I don't like you, Bob ; I don't ! ' 
she suddenly exclaimed between her sobs. ' I did once, 
but I don't now I can't, I can't ; you have been very 
cruel to me ! ' She violently turned away, weeping: 

' I have, I have been terribly bad, I know,' answered 
Bob, conscience-stricken by her grief. ' But if you 
could only forgive me I promise that I'll never do 
anything to grieve 'ee again. Do you forgive me, 
Anne ? ' 

Anne's only reply was crying and shaking her head. 

' Let's make it up. Come, say we have made it up, 

She withdrew her hand, and still keeping her eyes 
buried in her handkerchief, said ' No.' 


c Very well, then ! ' exclaimed Bob, with sudden 
determination. ' Now I know my doom ! And what- 
ever you hear of as happening to me, mind this, you 
cruel girl, that it is all your causing ! ' Saying this he 
strode with a hasty tread across the room into the 
passage and out at the door, slamming it loudly behind 

Anne suddenly looked up from her handkerchief, and 
stared with round wet eyes and parted lips at the door 
by which he had gone. Having remained with sus- 
pended breath in this attitude for a few seconds she 
turned round, bent her head upon the table, and burst 
out weeping anew with thrice the violence of the former 
time. It really seemed now as if her grief would over- 
whelm her, all the emotions which had been suppressed, 
bottled up, and concealed since Bob's return having 
made themselves a sluice at last. 

But such things have their end ; and left to herself 
in the large, vacant, old apartment, she grew quieter, 
and at last calm. At length she took the candle and 
ascended to her bedroom, where she bathed her eyes 
and looked in the glass to see if she had made herself a 
dreadful object. It was not so bad as she had expected, 
and she went downstairs again. 

Nobody was there, and, sitting down, she wondered 
what Bob had really meant by his words. It was too 
dreadful to think that he intended to go straight away 
to sea without seeing her again, and frightened at what 
she had done she waited anxiously for his return. 





HER suspense was interrupted by a very gentle tap- 
ping at the door, and then the rustle of a hand over its 
surface, as if searching for the latch in the dark. The 
door opened a few inches, and the alabaster face of 
Uncle Benjy appeared in the slit. 

' O, Squire Uerriman, you frighten me ! ' 

' All alone ? ' he asked in a whisper. 

' My mother and Mr. Loveday are somewhere about 
the house.' 

' That will do,' he said, coming forward. ' I be 
wherrited out of my life, and I have thought of you again 
you yourself, dear Anne, and not the miller. If you 
will only take this and lock it up for a few days till I can 
find another good place for it if you only would ! ' 
And he breathlessly deposited the tin box on the table. 

' What, obliged to dig it up from the cellar ? ' 

' Ay ; my nephew hath a scent of the place how, I 
don't know ! but he and a young woman he's met with 
are searching everywhere. I worked like a wire-drawer 
to get it up and away while they were scraping in the 
next cellar. Now where could ye put it, dear? 'Tis 
only a few documents, and my will, and such like, you 


know. Poor soul o' me, I'm worn out with running 
and fright ! ' 

1 I'll put it here till I can think of a better place,' 
said Anne, lifting the box. ' Dear me, how heavy 
it is!' 

' Yes, yes,' said Uncle Benjy hastily ; ' the box is 
iron, you see. However, take care of it, because I am 
going to make it worth your while. Ah, you are a good 
girl, Anne. I wish you was mine ! ' 

Anne looked at Uncle Benjy. She had known for 
some time that she possessed all the affection he had to 

' Why do you wish that ? ' she said simply. 

' Now don't ye argue with me. Where d'ye put the 
coffer ? ' 

' Here,' said Anne, going to the window-seat, which 
rose as a flap, disclosing a boxed receptacle beneath, as 
in many old houses. 

"Tis very well for the present,' he said dubiously, 
and they dropped the coffer in, Anne locking down the 
seat, and giving him the key. ' Now I don't want ye to 
be on my side for nothing,' he went on. ' I never did 
now, did I ? This is for you.' He handed her a little 
packet of paper, which Anne turned over and looked at 
curiously. ' I always meant to do it,' continued Uncle 
Benjy, gazing at the packet as it lay in her hand, and 
sighing. ' Come, open it, my dear ; I always meant to 
do it ! ' 

She opened it and found twenty new guineas snugly 
packed within. 

' Yes, they are for you. I always meant to do it ! ' 
he said, sighing again. 

' But you owe me nothing ! ' returned Anne, holding 
them out. 

' Don't say it ! ' cried Uncle Benjy, covering his eyes. 
' Put 'em away. . . . Well, if you don't want 'em But 
put 'em away, dear Anne ; they are for you, because you 


have kept my counsel. Good-night t' ye. Yes, they are 
for you.' 

He went a few steps, and turning back added 
anxiously, ' You won't spend 'em in clothes, or waste 'em 
in fairings, or ornaments of any kind, my dear girl ? ' 

'I will not,' said Anne. 'I wish you would have 

'No, no,' said Uncle Benjy, rushing off to escape 
their shine. But he had got no further than the passage 
when he returned again. 

' And you won't lend 'em to anybody, or put 'em into 
the bank for no bank is safe in these troublous times ? 
... If I was you I'd keep them exactly as they be, and 
not spend 'em on any account. Shall I lock them into 
my box for ye ? ' 

'Certainly,' said she; and the farmer rapidly un- 
locked the window-bench, opened the box, and locked 
them in. 

' Tis much the best plan,' he said with great satis- 
faction as he returned the keys to his pocket. ' There 
they will always be safe, you see, and you won't be 
exposed to temptation.' 

When the old man had been gone a few minutes, the 
miller and his wife came in, quite unconscious of all that 
had passed. Anne's anxiety about Bob was again upper- 
most now, and she spoke but meagrely of old Derriman's 
visit, and nothing of what he had left. She would fain 
have asked them if they knew where Bob was, but that 
she did not wish to inform them of the rupture. She was 
forced to admit to herself that she had somewhat tried 
his patience, and that impulsive men had been known 
to do dark things with themselves at such times. 

They sat down to supper, the clock ticked rapidly on, 
and at length the miller said, ' Bob is later than usual. 
Where can he be ? ' 

As they both looked at her, she could no longer keep 
the secret. 



' It is my fault,' she cried ; ' I have driven him away ! 
What shall I do ? ' 

The nature of the quarrel was at once guessed, and 
her two elders said no more. Anne rose and went to 
the front door, where she listened for every sound with 
a palpitating heart. Then she went in ; then she went 
out : and on one occasion she heard the miller say, ' I 
wonder what hath passed between Bob and Anne. I 
hope the chap will come home.' 

Just about this time light footsteps were heard with- 
out, and Bob bounced into the passage. Anne, who 
stood back in the dark while he passed, followed him 
into the room, where her mother and the miller were on 
the point of retiring to bed, candle in hand. 

' I have kept ye up, I fear,' began Bob cheerily, and 
apparently without the faintest recollection of his tragic 
exit from the house. ' But the truth on't is, I met with 
Fess Derriman at the " Duke of York " as I went from 
here, and there we have been playing Put ever since, not 
noticing how the time was going. I haven't had a good 
chat with the fellow for years and years, and really he is 
an out and out good comrade a regular hearty ! Poor 
fellow, he's been very badly used. I never heard the 
rights of the story till now; but it seems that old uncle 
of his treats him shamefully. He has been hiding away 
his money, so that poor Fess might not have a farthing, 
till at last the young man has turned, like any other 
worm, and is now determined to ferret out what he has 
done with it. The poor young chap hadn't a farthing 
of ready money till I lent him a couple of guineas a 
thing I never did more willingly in my life. But the 
man was very honourable. " No ; no," says he, " don't 
let me deprive ye." He's going to marry, and what may 
you think he is going to do it for ? ' 

' For love, I hope,' said Anne's mother. 

' For money, I suppose, since he's so short,' said the 



'No,' said Bob, 'for spite. He has been badly 
served deuced badly served by a woman. I never 
heard of a more heartless case in my life. The poor 
chap wouldn't mention names, but it seems this young 
woman has trifled with him in all manner of cruel ways 
pushed him into the river, tried to steal his horse 
when he was called out to defend his country in short, 
served him rascally. So I gave him the two guineas 
and said, " Now let's drink to the hussy's downfall ! " ' 

' O ! ' said Anne, having approached behind him. 

Bob turned and saw her, and at the same moment Mr. 
and Mrs. Loveday discreetly retired by the other door. 

' Is it peace ? ' he asked tenderly. 

' O yes,' she anxiously replied. ' I didn't mean to 
make you think I had no heart.' At this Bob inclined 
his countenance towards hers. ' No,' she said, smiling 
through two incipient tears as she drew back. ' You 
are to show good behaviour for six months, and you 
must promise not to frighten me again by running off 
when I show you how badly you have served me.' 

' I am yours obedient in anything,' cried Bob, 
' But am I pardoned ? ' 

Youth is foolish; and does a woman often let her 
reasoning in favour of the worthier stand in the way of 
her perverse desire for the less worthy at such times as 
these? She murmured some soft words, ending with 
' Do you repent ? ' 

It would be superfluous to transcribe Bob's answer. 

Footsteps were heard without. 

' O begad ; I forgot ! ' said Bob. ' He's waiting out 
there for a light.' 

< Who ? ' 

' My friend Derriman.' 

c But, Bob, I have to explain.' 

But Festus had by this time entered the lobby, and 
Anne, with a hasty Get rid of him at once ! ' vanished 



Here she waited and waited, but Festus did not 
seem inclined to depart; and at last, foreboding some 
collision of interests from Bob's new friendship for this 
man, she crept into a storeroom which was over the 
apartment into which Loveday and Festus had gone. 
By looking through a knot-hole in the floor it was easy 
to command a view of the room beneath, this being 
unceiled, with moulded beams and rafters. 

Festus had sat down on the hollow window-bench, 
and was continuing the statement of his wrongs. ' If 
he only knew what he was sitting upon,' she thought 
apprehensively, ' how easily he could tear up the flap, 
lock and all, with his strong arm, and seize upon poor 
Uncle Benjy's possessions ! ' But he did not appear to 
know, unless he were acting, which was just possible. 
After a while he rose, and going to the table lifted the 
candle to light his pipe. At the moment when the 
flame began diving into the bowl the door noiselessly 
opened and a figure slipped across the room to the 
window-bench, hastily unlocked it, withdrew the box, 
and beat a retreat. Anne in a moment recognized the 
ghostly intruder as Festus Derriman's uncle. Before 
he could get out of the room Festus set down the candle 
and turned. 

' What Uncle Benjy haw, haw ! Here at this 
time of night ? ' 

Uncle Benjy's eyes grew paralyzed, and his mouth 
opened and shut like a frog's in a drought, the action 
producing no sound. 

' What have we got here a tin box the box of 
boxes ? Why, I'll carry it for 'ee, uncle ! I am going 

' N no no, thanky, Festus : it is n n not 
heavy at all, thanky,' gasped the squireen. 

' O but I must,' said Festus, pulling at the box. 

' Don't let him have it, Bob ! ' screamed the excited 
Anne through the hole in the floor. 


' No, don't let him ! ' cried the uncle. 'Tis a plot 
there's a woman at the window waiting to help 

Anne's eyes flew to the window, and she saw 
Matilda's face pressed against the pane. 

Bob, though he did not know whence Anne's com- 
mand proceeded, obeyed with alacrity, pulled the box 
from the two relatives, and placed it on the table 
beside him. 

' Now, look here, hearties ; what's the meaning o' 
this ? ' he said. 

' He's trying to rob me of all I possess ! ' cried the 
old man. ' My heart-strings seem as if they were 
going crack, crack, crack ! ' 

At this instant the miller in his shirt-sleeves entered 
the room, having got thus far in his undressing when 
he heard the noise. Bob and Festus turned to him to 
explain ; and when the latter had had his say Bob 
added, ' Well, all I know is that this box ' here he 
stretched out his hand to lay it upon the lid for 
emphasis. But as nothing but thin air met his fingers 
where the box had been, he turned, and found that the 
box was gone, Uncle Benjy having vanished also. 

Festus, with an imprecation, hastened to the door, 
but though the night was not dark Farmer Derriman 
and his burden were nowhere to be seen. On the 
bridge Festus joined a shadowy female form, and they 
went along the road together, followed for some dis- 
tance by Bob, lest they should meet with and harm 
the old man. But the precaution was unnecessary : 
nowhere on the road was there any sign of Farmer 
Derriman, or of the box that belonged to him. When 
Bob re-entered the house Anne and Mrs. Loveday had 
joined the miller downstairs, and then for the first time 
he learnt who had been the heroine of Festus's lament- 
able story, with many other particulars of that yeoman's 
history which he had never before known. Bob swore 


that he would not speak to the traitor again, and the 
family retired. 

The escape of old Mr. Derriman from the annoy- 
ances of his nephew not only held good for that night, 
but for next day, and for ever. Just after dawn on 
the following morning a labouring man, who was going 
to his work, saw the old farmer and landowner lean- 
ing over a rail in a mead near his house, apparently 
engaged in contemplating the water of a brook before 
him. Drawing near, the man spoke, but Uncle Benjy 
did not reply. His head was hanging strangely, his 
body being supported in its erect position entirely by 
the rail that passed under each arm. On after-exami- 
nation it was found that Uncle Benjy's poor withered 
heart had cracked and stopped its beating from damages 
inflicted on it by the excitements of his life, and of the 
previous night in particular. The unconscious carcass 
was little more than a light empty husk, dry and flesh- 
less as that of a dead heron found on a moor in 

But the tin box was not discovered with or near him. 
It was searched for all the week, and all the month. 
The mill-pond was dragged, quarries were examined, 
woods were threaded, rewards were offered; but in 

At length one day in the spring, when the mill-house 
was about to be cleaned throughout, the chimney-board 
of Anne's bedroom, concealing a yawning fire-place, had 
to be taken down. In the chasm behind it stood the 
missing deed-box of Farmer Derriman. 

Many were the conjectures as to how it had got there. 
Then Anne remembered that on going to bed on the 
night of the collision between Festus and his uncle in 
the room below, she had seen mud on the carpet of 
her room, and the miller remembered that he had seen 
footprints on the back staircase. The solution of the 
mystery seemed to be that the late Uncle Benjy, instead 


of running off from the house with his box, had doubled 
on getting out of the front door, entered at the back, 
deposited his box in Anne's chamber where it was 
found, and then leisurely pursued his way home at the 
heels of Festus, intending to tell Anne of his trick the 
next day an intention that was for ever frustrated by 
the stroke of death. 

Mr. Derriman's solicitor was a Casterbridge man, 
and Anne placed the box in his hands. Uncle Benjy's 
will was discovered within ; and by this testament Anne's 
queer old friend appointed her sole executrix of his said 
will, and, more than that, gave and bequeathed to the 
same young lady all his real and personal estate, with 
the solitary exception of five small freehold houses in 
a back street in Budmouth, which were devised to his 
nephew Festus, as a sufficient property to maintain him 
decently, without affording any margin for extravagances. 
Oxwell Hall, with its muddy quadrangle, archways, 
mullioned windows, cracked battlements, and weed- 
grown garden, passed with the rest into the hands of 





DURING this exciting time John Loveday seldom or 
never appeared at the mill. With the recall of Bob, in 
which he had been sole agent, his mission seemed to be 

One mid-day, before Anne had made any change in 
her manner of living on account of her unexpected acqui- 
sition, Lieutenant Bob came in rather suddenly. He 
had been to Budmouth, and announced to the arrested 
senses of the family that the th Dragoons were ordered 
to join Sir Arthur Wellesley in the Peninsula. 

These tidings produced a great impression on the 
household. John had been so long in the neighbour- 
hood, either at camp or in barracks, that they had 
almost forgotten the possibility of his being sent away ; 
and they now began to reflect upon the singular in- 
frequency of his calls since his brother's return. There 
was not much time, however, for reflection, if they 
wished to make the most of John's farewell visit, which 
was to be paid the same evening, the departure of the 
regiment being fixed for next day. A hurried valedictory 
supper was prepared during the afternoon, and shortly 
afterwards John arrived. 



He seemed to be more thoughtful and a trifle paler 
than of old, but beyond these traces, which might have 
been due to the natural wear and tear of time, he showed 
no signs of gloom. On his way through the town that 
morning a curious little incident had occurred to him. 
He was walking past one of the churches when a 
wedding-party came forth, the bride and bridegroom 
being Matilda and Festus Derriman. At sight of the 
trumpet-major the yeoman had glared triumphantly; 
Matilda, on her part, had winked at him slily, as much 
as to say . But what she meant heaven knows ; the 
trumpet-major did not trouble himself to think, and 
passed on without returning the mark of confidence with 
which she had favoured him. 

Soon after John's arrival at the mill several of his 
friends dropped in for the same purpose of bidding 
adieu. They were mostly the men who had been enter- 
tained there on the occasion of the regiment's advent on 
the down, when Anne and her mother were coaxed in to 
grace the party by their superior presence ; and their 
well-trained, gallant manners were such as to make them 
interesting visitors now as at all times. For it was a 
period when romance had not so greatly faded out of 
military life as it has done in these days of short ser- 
vice, heterogeneous mixing, and transient campaigns; 
when the esprit de corps was strong, and long experience 
stamped noteworthy professional characteristics even on 
rank and file ; while the miller's visitors had the additional 
advantage of being picked men. 

They could not stay so long to-night as on that 
earlier and more cheerful occasion, and the final adieus 
were spoken at an early hour. It was no mere playing 
at departure, as when they had gone to Exonbury 
barracks, and there was a warm and prolonged shaking 
of hands all round. 

'You'll wish the poor fellows good-bye?' said Bob 
to Anne, who had not come forward for that purpose 


like the rest. ' They are going away, and would like to 
have your good word.' 

She then shyly advanced, and every man felt that he 
must make some pretty speech as he shook her by the 

' Good-bye ! May you remember us as long as it 
makes ye happy, and forget us as soon as it makes ye 
sad,' said Sergeant Brett. 

' Good - night ! Health, wealth, and long life to 
ye ! ' said Sergeant-major Wills, taking her hand from 

' I trust to meet ye again as the wife of a worthy 
man,' said Trumpeter Buck. 

' We'll drink your health throughout the campaign, 
and so good-bye t'ye,' said Saddler- sergeant Jones, 
raising her hand to his lips. 

Three others followed with similar remarks, to each 
of which Anne blushingly replied as well as she could, 
wishing them a prosperous voyage, easy conquest, and 
a speedy return. 

But, alas, for that ! Battles and skirmishes, advances 
and retreats, fevers and fatigues, told hard on Anne's 
gallant friends in the coming time. Of the seven upon 
whom these wishes were bestowed, five, including the 
trumpet-major, were dead men within the few following 
years, and their bones left to moulder in the land of 
their campaigns. 

John lingered behind. When the others were out- 
side, expressing a final farewell to his father, Bob, and 
Mrs. Loveday, he came to Anne, who remained within. 

' But I thought you were going to look in again 
before leaving ? ' she said gently. 

' No ; I find I cannot. Good-bye ! ' 

' John,' said Anne, holding his right hand in both 

hers, ' I must tell you something. You were wise in 

not taking me at my word that day. I was greatly 

mistaken about myself. Gratitude is not love, though I 



wanted to make it so for the time. You don't call me 
thoughtless for what I did ? ' 

' My dear Anne,' cried John, with more gaiety than 
truthfulness, 'don't let yourself be troubled! What 
happens is for the best. Soldiers love here to-day and 
there to-morrow. Who knows that you won't hear of 
my attentions to some Spanish maid before a month 
is gone by ? Tis the way of us, you know ; a soldier's 
heart is not worth a week s purchase ha, ha ! Good- 
bye, good-bye ! ' 

Anne felt the expediency of his manner, received the 
affectation as real, and smiled her reply, not knowing 
that the adieu was for evermore. Then with a tear in 
his eye he went out of the door, where he bade farewell 
to the miller, Mrs. Loveday, and Bob, who said at 
parting, ' It's all right, Jack, my dear fellow. After a 
coaxing that would have been enough to win three 
ordinary Englishwomen, five French, and ten Mulotters, 
she has to-day agreed to bestow her hand upon me at 
the end of six months. Good-bye, Jack, good-bye ! ' 

The candle held by his father shed its waving light 
upon John's face and uniform as with a farewell smile 
he turned on the doorstone, backed by the black night ; 
and in another moment he had plunged into the dark- 
ness, the ring of his smart step dying away upon the 
bridge as he joined his companions-in-arms, and went 
off to blow his trumpet till silenced for ever upon one 
of the bloody battle-fields of Spain. 


Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co. 

Edinburgh and London 2 B 


PR Hardy, Thomas 

4/750 The trumpet-major